The story behind IKEA's "deranged" bisexual couch

The poet who inspired the couch has come forward to explain its meaning after its reveal on social media did not go down well at all!

A multicoloured couch covered with hands, one of its cushions reading 'no one believes you'

IKEA Canada unveiled a campaign for Pride featuring “10 loveseats inspired by different Pride flags” created by LGBTQ+ designers as standalone art pieces. While the campaign has mainly received praise, Twitter is not taking kindly to the couch inspired by the bisexual flag.

The two-seater bisexual couch is covered in 2D and 3D hands and contains a message on the backrest reading “when you change or to and / nobody believes you”. Many have commented on the “deranged” appearance of the loveseat, with one Twitter user saying “In light of recent events (the bisexual IKEA couch) I will be returning to my therapist.” Another asked, “did they just turn bisexual trauma into a COUCH.”

The piece was created by queer Canadian designer, illustrator and researcher, Charlotte Carbone, who also designed the non-binary and the gender-fluid themed couches. The message displayed is a quote from a slam-poem by bisexual poet, Brian Lanigan, who, after all the confusion, took to Twitter to explain the meaning behind the piece.

“The line “when you change ‘or’ to ‘and’, nobody believes you” is from a poem I wrote in high school about bisexual erasure I experienced from an ex-partner and others,” he explained, “I’m a spoken word poet and the hands are meant to represent the audience reaction, especially those of other bisexual folks who would approach me after performances and share their story with me.”

He also shed a bit more light on the quote, saying, “for those confused by the excerpt from the poem, the original full line is “it’s okay to love boys or girls, but when you change ‘or’ to ‘and’, nobody believes you.”

Many have connected with Brian’s message and shared their own experience of bi-erasure in response to the work, and the poet shared his thanks with “everyone who reached out to share their similar story.”

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