'Gay' Jumper Challenges Homophobic Expression


The world’s first 100 percent “gay” jumper, knitted from the hair of more than 100 LGBT people, debuted at Toronto fashion week on Tuesday.


The ‘Gay Sweater’ is part of a campaign by the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) to spread awareness of the affects of homophobic and transphobic language.

The idea for the jumper came about when CCGSD founder Jeremy Dias (pictured) overheard schoolchildren pejoratively referring to an outfit as “so gay”.

“I remember looking at a colleague, saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if your sweater was gay?” Dias told The Star. “Like if two sweaters were in the back of the closet hooking up?”

“ ‘That’s so gay’ – homophobic and transphobic language – is so woven into our society…we began thinking, ‘How can we create an object that actually is gay?’ ”

Dias and co soon hit upon the idea of making a jumper from the donated hair of LGBT people from across Canada. The hair was then knitted together by two textile artists over the course of several months last summer to create the world’s first literally ‘gay’ jumper.

“[The sweater] has quite literally woven together the stories and experiences of hundreds of [LGBTQ people]. Our discrimination, our joys, our sadness,” said Dias.

“It’s time now for us to really make a social change around this issue.”

“‘That’s so gay’ is indication that oppression against LGBT people is still there. If the oppression and discrimination wasn’t there, the expression wouldn’t exist.”

Following its appearance in Toronto, the jumper will go on an educational tour of schools and museums around Canada.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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