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Gift Guide 2013: There’s No Business Like LGBT Business!

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Nov 29, 2013

This article is from the April 2014 issue of EDGE Digital Magazine.

Trying to decide where to spend your hard-earned dollars this holiday season? How about supporting LGBT entrepreneurs as they paint the world a rainbow of fabulousness?

Whether you're looking to gift a page-turning beach read, perfect piece of home decor or signature jewelry piece, EDGE has you covered.

Cleis Press

Remember books - those magnificently woodsy-smelling bound pages of triumphs and tribulations? While your head may be stuck in the latest version of iOS, consider coming up for air every now and then and settling in with a good ol’ fashioned novel. Cleis Press has been at the forefront of LGBT publishing since 1980 and continues to give voice to queer writers of all genres.

"LGBTQ readers know the real thing when they see it: authentic, entertaining, arousing, enlivening, inspiring books for us," says Cleis Press CFO and co-founder Felice Newman. "Over the years, mainstream corporate publishers have jumped on that bandwagon, at times with great enthusiasm. But in the end, once they decide our readers aren’t serving up enough profits, they drop us. Who but Cleis Press can you count on to stand with LGBTQ readers? For 35 years, we’ve been the everybody’s favorite source of great queer books for smart readers."

EDGE’s Top Picks

"The Hardest Thing: A Dan Stagg Mystery" by James Lear, $16.95
Follow ex-military protagonist Dan Stagg as he protects the young protégé of a powerful real estate developer and is forced to choose between the easy money (not to mention sex) that his new job offers him. We should all have such problems.

"Wild Girls, Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories" edited by Sacchi Green, $15.95
There are the fabled urban myths of lesbians who fill up a U-Haul on the second date and lead sweetly romantic lives of cocoa and comfy slippers. A lot of cozy and not much crazy. These are not those stories. These are wild women with dirty minds and even the occasional cuff or clamp. And they’re all true.

"Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica" by Tristan Taormino, $14.95
Even within the LGBT community, transgender or gender variant sexuality often gets overlooked. This powerful collection by sex writer and educator Tristan Taormino bucks tradition and shows that gender identities don’t need to be fixed or "revealed" in order to describe the lust, the passion, the burning desires of their subjects: in other words, like any good erotic tale, they’re ultimately about sex.


The first company to introduce moving gears to jewelry, the Kinekt Gear Ring’s unique patented design is sure to draw oohs and ahs from its recipient. Made of 316L surgical steel (or opt for gold and diamonds for more bling factor), the ring is available for both men and women and carries a lifetime guarantee.

"I have always been fascinated and inspired by small mechanisms and their complementary movements and wanted to create jewelry that was playful but also had a refined design," explains creator Glen Liberman. "My first signature piece, the Gear Ring, captures this mechanical intrigue and sophisticated style."

$165, sizes 5 to 20

Naked Decor

When we asked Naked Decor’s creative director, Supon Phornirunlit, about how being gay affects his business, he chuckled and said, "I’m ’buy-sexual’: you buy, and I get sexual."

This serial entrepreneur started one of the highest profile graphic design firms in Washington, D.C., branding Fortune 100 companies and winning more than 1,000 design awards. Spinning that knowledge into an e-commerce site, Naked Décor offers inspired accessories and home goods.

Queen wall clock, $49.95

Next page for Rony Tennenbaum, Vs. Stuff and Fine and Dandy

Rony Tennenbaum

If you’ll be hearing wedding bells in 2014 and plan on popping the question this holiday season, look no further than Rony Tenenbaum, whose powerhouse designs have been celebrated for more than 25 years.

"I am an avid believer that everyone has a natural birth right to wed anyone they choose, under their own personal belief system and confess their love to one another before the world in any manner. In turn, I believe that society has an obligation to accept every union, commitment, partnership, marriage equally without prejudice or judgment," says Tenenbaum.

"I believe that rings are such an intimate part of any relationship. They represent a commitment two people (of any sex) are making towards one another for good times and bad. I find great pride and joy in creating these rings for couples. It is exciting to think they will be wearing these symbols of love as long as they live. In a way, I am a part of the harmony they call love."

You’ll find dozens of selections online or at various retail locations throughout the U.S. Prices vary.

Vs. Stuff

Add some whimsy to your family’s wardrobe and simultaneously give Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop a run for their money. Co-founders and partners Ashley Connors Hannah Lavon created their company - which produces whimsical socks, booties and mittens - with a simple mission: make things that make people smile. Available for both adults and children, these gleeful knitted items pit rivals against each other such as cat versus dog or fly versus frog.

"As a company, we believe it is important to support LGBT-owned businesses," say Connors and Lavon. "When we support each other by celebrating our similarities and our differences, we make this world a brighter place. That is the world we want to live in, so we do our best to contribute each and every day, both as a company and as people."

Booties and kids’ sock packs, $14.95
Junior mittens start at $20.99
Adult mittens start at $25.99

Fine and Dandy

The new gay epicenter of New York City has been christened in the trendy neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find great classic accessories in addition to skinny jeans and Andrew Christian underwear. Enter Fine and Dandy, an inspired men’s shop co-owned by Matt Fox and Enrique Crame III.

Red plaid flannel tie, $55
Glen plaid wool handkerchief, $29

According to Fox, this small pop-and-pop shop "caters to the guy who enjoys dressing up. He doesn’t believe in Casual Friday, or thinks of getting dressed each day as a chore. He has an appreciation for the well-dressed gentlemen of yesteryear and is inspired by their unabashed use of accessories. This shop is for that modern man looking for the finishing details to truly be fine and dandy."

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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