50 YEARS OF PRIDE: MARKING MILESTONES WITH OUR FRIENDS
June is a special time for the LGBTQ community and 2019 is a milestone year, marking 50 years of Pride Month recognition. To show our support, we teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign on a tee, sweatshirt and bandana featuring a feel-good message. 50 percent of the purchase price of each style goes toward the organization’s work to ensure that LGBTQ people are safe, equal and free in every community. We also asked a few of our favorite couples to share their personal milestones, from the joy of becoming a cat-parent to the magic they felt when tying the knot.
PROP STYLIST MELISSA JOHNSON & OUR CREATIVE EXPERT JEN LEE
“Moving to New York six years ago from a small town in the Midwest and experiencing Pride for the first time was really affirming for me. It seems like the whole city shows up to support and celebrate the power of love. Whether I’m at the parade, marches or queer and diverse parties (shout-out to Pat, Misster, Papi Juice and Bubble T) the love and celebration always gets me feeling deeply emotional and proud to be visible—especially during a time when leaders endorse hate and freedoms are at risk.”—Melissa
“I didn’t grow up with pets. I spent my entire adult life indifferent to animals. Then I met Melissa, and with Melissa came Mercury Electron, her cat-baby. For the first two years, Mercury and I tiptoed around each other but slowly that changed. She would flip over for belly rubs and I actually started giving them! I’d find her resting on my lap for warmth almost as much as she was on Melissa’s. My partner’s cat had opened up my heart to a totally new kind of love. I was smitten! I jokingly call her my step-cat, but now she’s my cat-baby too, through and through.”—Jen
PHYSICIAN DARIEN SUTTON & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF OUT MAGAZINE PHILLIP PICARDI
“One of the most important milestones in my life was realizing the value of happiness. I wished so much for happiness that I couldn’t imagine, and I dreamed of a love I didn’t think was possible. Fast forward 15 years and I met the man that would help me realize those dreams were valid. Since day one, Phillip has brought vibrancy to my life (and I’m not just talking about his style). He’s shown me how magnificent it is to live passionately, love boldly and walk fearlessly. Phill helped me to understand the true definition of a partner and every day I get to spend with him I realize the power of true happiness.”—Darien
“I’d say my milestone is the anniversary of when I met Darien. I was on the Amtrak home to New York from Boston when my phone buzzed because I had a match on a dating app. There, on my screen, was one of the most handsome men I’d ever seen. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure how in the mood for a date I would be—just hours earlier, I had kissed my grandmother good-bye, as she entered a morphine-induced coma and would imminently end her battle with cancer.
Nonetheless, some cute banter with Darien about who the better dancer was (spoiler alert: it’s him, no contest) convinced me to meet him for a drink that evening. So, fresh off the train, I showed up uncharacteristically underdressed and under-made-up.
What I was sure would be a glass of wine turned into a bottle. And, as he got up to get us food from the bar, I noticed his cargo pants and laughed to myself, wondering how on earth I was about to fall head over heels for a guy who wears cargo pants in 2014.
Over four years later and with an engagement under our belts, I’ve learned some of the hardest lessons in my life with my best friend and partner by my side. I like to think that, somewhere along this journey, my grandmother acted as a guardian angel, inviting me to find new love to fill the place in my heart she had left behind.”—Phillip
OUR MERCH MASTER BETH HERGET & JEWELRY DESIGNER CHARLOTTE CAUWE
“Pride is always a special time where the celebration and love for our community is strongest. When gay marriage became legal during NYC Pride in 2015, it was one of the most amazing times—everyone had advocated and fought so hard to allow us to have the same rights as straight couples, and to see it instituted as law validated our unions as equal. Edie Windsor as an octogenarian leader in the cause was a moving testament to the generations who did not have the same rights that ours and future generations have. Getting engaged to Charlotte was definitely the highlight of my life thus far. We did it on our terms, our way—and it was perfect.”—Beth
“Agreed. One of the most monumental moments for us and the LGBTQ community was the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide. Personally, I never thought I would be married or be out and proud like I am today. Like so many people, feeling comfortable being my true self took a long time. Our engagement was an important moment for us to celebrate who we are. We honor those who fought so hard for this and strive to uphold those rights.”—Charlotte
DESIGNER WESLEY NAULT & ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR MAXWELL LOSGAR
“As cheesy as it sounds, my proudest milestone is our recent marriage. This February, Wes and I made things official with a private ceremony at City Hall. The only people in attendance were our parents and the countless other happy couples who chose the same day as us to start the rest of their lawfully wedded lives together. Growing up before same-sex marriage was legal, having a husband was something I wrote off very early in life. But there we were: the only gay couple eloping that day, and not a single person sneered, stared or hurled insults at us. It was nothing but love.”—Maxwell
“I couldn’t agree more. Marrying Max far outshines any other milestone in my life. Our ‘I do’s’ were over in seconds, but the happiness I felt in those few short moments was absolute magic. It really put into perspective just how lucky we are for the sacrifices of the LGBTQ community before us.”—Wesley
Thanks so much for sharing your stories, friends. Let’s keep the love flowing with our Madewell x Human Rights Campaign collection—shop it right here.