Monday, December 20, 2010

Greeting Cards for Gay Men

I can't be the only gay man frustrated with the greeting card industry at times of the year like this one.

First, what families do these companies think they're writing these cards for? I did not have a selfless mother, who did everything for her children, and who created happy and wonderful memories my sister and I will cherish for the rest of our lives. Nor did I have a father who was always there for us, who willingly provided his understanding, support, and guidance, and who created happy and wonderful memories my sister and I will cherish for the rest of our lives.

Who the hell has a Beaver Cleaver family?  Greeting card companies need to get their heads out of their asses and sell real cards for real people.  (Come to think of it, I came up with that idea recently--for a whole new line called "Keeping It Real: Real Cards for Real People."  I dare Carlton or Hallmark or some competitor to do something with it.  I'd even write some realistic yet gracious verses for them.  I'm just saying.)

Now, let's talk about greeting cards for gay men.  Oh, I've seen what's available, at places like Little Sisters, Vancouver's gay and lesbian emporium, featuring naked hunks, sporting huge erections, with smart cracks (no pun intended) inside (just because we're gay men, why does everything have to be about nudity and sex?).  In fact, on several occasions, I've spent a few minutes among these cards, amused or playfully mortified by just how brazen and tasteless they are. Buy one to give to someone?  You must be kidding.  No one buys these things, do they?  Aren't they nothing more than novelty items, meant to entertain customers when they come into the store, but destined to remain there forever?  I could never give one to someone who means a lot to me, certainly not to my life partner, Chris, the man I've been with and loved for nearly two decades.

No, at certain times of the year--like Valentine's Day, or Chris's birthday (November 6), or our anniversary (June 13), or Christmas--I need to find something just right--meaningful yet appropriate, and definitely not obscene.

So there I am, standing in front of the wall at Carlton or Hallmark (or both), every kind of greeting card imaginable at my disposal, and not one of them appropriate or right or suitable, for so many different reasons.  I can't tell you how hopeful I've been walking into these stores, sending out positive energy the perfect card will catch my attention, so I won't have to spend ridiculous amounts of time looking, outright rejecting most, reading a choice few over and over, trying to expand my imagination to somehow make them fit the person or how I feel about him, only for my spirits to deflate and my frustration level to rise, as I'm sucked into the vortex of craziness that is the greeting card business.

The problems with greeting cards a gay man might give to his life partner are endless but mostly characteristic, regardless of the occasion.  Sometimes, I find one with the perfect verse, exactly what I want to say to the man I know I'm so blessed to call mine, only to be faced with a picture, or an illustration, of a man and a woman on the cover.  Do I draw a mustache on the woman and call it a day? Haven't gotten that desperate yet, but the thought has occurred to me, on more than one occasion.  

This past weekend, I found a Christmas card with the perfect sentiment inside to give Chris, but the picture on the cover was of a man's hand holding a woman's, hers long and slender, fingernails carefully manicured and painted.  Can't exactly give Chris that one, now can I?

After I eliminate all the "sweetheart" or "man I love" cards, finding something wrong with every single one, I move into the "husband" and "wife" cards.  Is Chris my husband?  I suppose so, if I look at him in the broadest sense, even though we're not officially married.  He certainly isn't my wife.  If anyone is the wife in our relationship, it's me.  (Fortunately, Chris doesn't look at me that way, so I've never received a "wife" card from him, not yet anyway.  Perhaps he hasn't gotten desperate enough.)

On occasion, I've had to settle for a "husband" card--it's the only one I found with the right expression of sentiment for Chris, without a picture of a woman, or some part of a woman body, or something reminiscent of a woman, on the cover.  "So I'm your husband, am I?" Chris asked me once, skeptically.  I understood his raised eyebrows. What do we call each other?  In the heterosexual world, you have husbands and wives.  In the gay world, we have...lovers, partners?  No one's produced lovers and partners cards yet, and I'm not certain that's how I feel about Chris anyway.  So I explained to him, it was the only card I could find, before I snapped in the store and had to have mall security escort me out the door.

This Christmas, the greeting cards were the worst I'd ever seen, THE WORST, not just for family members but for Chris, too.  Oh, the cover pictures were beautiful, inspired, artistic expressions of a warm and wonderful time of the year. But the verses?  Are you kidding?  They were dreadful.  Or maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind to search for greeting cards on the occasions I made the concerted effort, hopeful, so hopeful, I'd find them all in one location and put an end to that part of holiday lunacy.  And the "sweetheart" or "man I love" cards? Hopeless.  Absolutely hopeless.  I can't tell you how many stores I looked in--London Drugs, Save-On Foods, Carlton, Hallmark, in several different locations, over and over--always hopeful, always disappointed.

In the end, I bought the exact same card I gave Chris last year.  I remember the picture on the cover--completely generic, not a man or a woman, or anything to point to a specific sex, in sight--and this entirely suitable verse:  "Your love is a gift I treasure more with every passing day, and as time goes by...I find myself discovering more and more reasons for loving you.  That's why this Christmas, I'm thinking about how wonderful it is to have your love in my life, and how much you mean to me [Carlton]."  (Collective, "Awww!").  I just hope Chris doesn't have as good a memory as I do.  Come to think of it, I know he doesn't.  Greeting cards aren't as important to him as they are to me.

Maybe I should have followed my first impulse and bought all ten or so copies of the same card so I'd have a decade's supply, thereby saving me from having to endure the anguish of searching futilely for just the right cards to give him well into the future. Anything to avoid the endless frustration of greeting card stores at Christmas time.

*

Postscript dated December 4, 2012:

Nearly two years after I first published this post, it continues to receive a phenomenal number of pageviews–to date, nearly 1,000 in total.  This tells me many gay and lesbian people have an interest in giving each other greeting cards, and they continue to have difficulty finding something suitable, either through companies like Carlton or Hallmark, or through gay and lesbian emporiums in their cities.

So, let me tell you how Chris and I solved this problem for ourselves, starting last Christmas (2011).  We made our own customized greeting card.  

On our local drug store's (London Drugs) website, under photo development, there is the option to order greeting cards.  All you have to do is select a border consistent with the occasion (in this case, Christmas) and insert a picture of your choice.  Then submit your order.

To be sure we had our cards well in advance, we ordered them in early November.  They arrived several weeks later, and we just sent them off this past weekend.  The price, by the way, is less than if we'd bought personal cards for all of our friends and family members.

The bottom line is, you don't have to rely on what the big greeting card companies have available.  Sure, there are many Internet greeting card companies, all of them headed by folks who are willing to work with every customer to ensure the desired product is made. But why not do it yourself?  It couldn't be easier.        

If you click on this link, you'll see a sample of the Christmas card Chris and I sent to friends and family in 2011.  It will give you an idea of what you can do for yourself, with minimal effort and maximum result.

Good luck, and I hope you never have a problem finding suitable greeting cards again.

40 comments:

  1. Oh I laughed at this one! You are so right, there's nothing out there. I wanted to send you a birthday ecard once and was so delighted to see 'gay' cards - I took a look at them! Even online they were totally inappropriate for me to send to you. You should write to Hallmark or Carlton & do some suggesting. Maybe they would hire you for a new line of cards! Suggest an online e-card as a test to see if it would fly :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen! Someone else agrees. I thought I'd get a lot of comments on this one, but since I didn't, I'll assume whoever read this post:
    1). was raised in a Beaver Cleaver family and finds what the greeting card companies shove down our throats appropriate to their situations;
    2). doesn't care what's in the cards, buys anything, and gives it to anyone, just to get the whole pain-in-the-ass greeting card process over with; or
    3). doesn't give greeting cards at Christmas or at any other time of the year (I don't blame them if they don't; I wish I could be as stone-hearted).

    So before writing this, I visited the Hallmark website to get some information on submitting card ideas. Looks like there's no option to suggest a whole line of cards (like the "Keeping It Real" one I wrote about). Also, Hallmark has several contests throughout the year, where one can submit one or more card ideas for a specific occasion (sounds a little regimented to me). And, finally, looks like Hallmark wants the "full meal deal"--that is, not just the verse, but the picture or art on the cover and inside (bet a lot of people are discouraged because of that). Sounds far too involved for me. All I want are cards that don't make me puke every time I try to find one that's right for the person I want to give it to.

    Sure, I'd suggest a line, sure I'd write some verses, but it's not a passion of mine to break into the greeting card market. Hopefully, someone else will take up this cause and make it work for me, you, and so many of the rest of us. (For the record, my sister hated all the Christmas cards this year, too. We should have expressed our dissatisfaction by telling each other not to buy a single card and to boycott the greeting card companies until they cleaned up their act.)

    Thanks for your comment, Jeanette. I appreciate you keeping up with my blog, and wish you and Dee all the best of the holiday season.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Went to a popular Clinton card shop here in London for the first time and I was also disappointed that there was none cards for gay people. The store and card publishers gave me a feeling that gays were 'abnormal' or kind of 'special person' that need special stores.

    Anyway, I was in a rush and I don't want to buy the card "for boyfriend" because it was simply not appropriate therefore I just end up buying the "especially for you" card with two rabbits at the front (from watermark publishing). It is more like a unisex card and will just add more dedication inside later.

    -SEAsian Guy-

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  4. Thanks for your comment, SEAsian Guy. I appreciate hearing other gay people have the same challenges I do finding appropriate greeting cards for family and/or partners.
    I'm not surprised by the impression you got from the folks working in the card store. On the other hand, you're in London, and you'd think in almost 2011, they'd have addressed our specific need. After all, if we're to believe the stats, we make up at least ten percent of the population (that's a lot of people worldwide), and, in general, we have a lot of money to spend. So...they need to get on it, don't you think?
    I think the "especially for you" card sounds great, and who knows what genders the two rabbits are. We'll make them whatever we want them to be. Thanks for sharing this idea with the rest of my readers. I hope it will help them.
    Have a wonderful holiday season, and please check back. I hope I continue to write on subjects you find interesting.
    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. http://adonisartgallery.3dcartstores.com/Miscellaneous-Cards_c_139-1.html

    Smth like that?

    http://www.clonezonedirect.co.uk/category.aspx?id=22

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for your suggestions, Anonymous. I visited both sites, and, while some of the covers may work (I have no idea what the cards say inside them), others are the questionable ones I referred to in my post (obscene pictures, etc.). These pictures have their place, but, in my opinion, not on greeting cards you may wish to give to a life partner (unless of course your intent is to get the juices going--in which case they'll likely work fine).
    I appreciate your interest in my blog, and thanks for leaving a comment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your blog is so creative, I'm sure you would have no trouble crafting your own greeting card. Many online photo printers can produce cards from a JPEG as well. An original card from the heart says so much more than Hallmark ever could : )

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks so much, Doug and Jesse, for your kind words about my blog.
    Of course, rather than whine about not liking the greeting cards available to gay men to give each other, I could take your suggestion or write something heartfelt in blank cards. I guess I'd just like the card companies to be more aware of us and to give us more options (certainly more than we have now).
    Thanks for sharing your ideas with my readers. Obviously, more than just a few of us have challenges with greeting cards. And thanks for visiting my blog. I really appreciate your interest.
    (By the way, I enjoyed your blog, too, and left a comment on your first post.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I know what you mean about feeling ignored when browsing greeting cards. But I feel that our commercialized society places too much value on store-bought, and sometimes laughs at homemade. Ironically, there are now high-end cards that have little bits and pieces glued on them, trying to look handmade!

    I look forward to following your blog from now on : ) - Doug

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  10. I think your point, Doug, is right on the mark.
    That said, sure, official greeting cards may be looked at as part of our highly commercialized world, especially considering how expensive they are. But, just like so many other small things, they are part and parcel of a bigger picture where we as gay men are virtually ignored or marginalized. I'm not political in any way, but I am concerned about recognition, acceptance, and validation, because we still have to get along in a largely straight world, yet we also want to be true to ourselves.
    Does this make sense?
    By the way, I submitted the name of your blog to Queer Canada Blogs so it would be included in their scroll. That way, you'll get a lot more traffic, which I hope you want.
    And thanks for adding your name to the list of my Followers. Twenty-one Followers now and counting. In some places, my blog has come of age. Thanks for helping to make that happen.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It seems to me the fun part of blogging is getting personal feedback from readers, and especially other bloggers. I really appreciate you getting me on the Queer blogroll (I was quite surprised!). The virtual Canadian queer world is an accepting Hallmark-free zone : )

    You'll have to throw a fabulous 21 party now!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Doug, feedback on blog posts is always gratifying. Curiously, I seldom receive comments on the posts I'm sure I will, and I receive quite a few on ones I didn't think I would (like this one, for example).
    Thankfully, no one has flamed out on me yet, chewing me up in a disrespectful manner for something I've written. I try to measure what I say in order to get across my point without being deliberately offensive. Hopefully, I succeed.
    I hope you get lots of readers as a result of your blog's inclusion on Queer Canada Blogs. I was thrilled when I received the email to say mine had been added, and my readership increased markedly.
    When I got more of an audience, I found I was more self-conscious about what I wrote, concerned about appealing to a broad range of people. Don't do that. Remain true to yourself. Write what's important to you. After all, it's your blog, perhaps your biggest chance to be who you are and to get across what's important to you. Use it accordingly.
    Good luck and thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sound advice, there's no telling what will really grab someone else's interest. But if it does not interest the writer to begin with, then there is no hope! I'm enjoying just dabbling with my blog at the moment. But I think your topics have a broad appeal for queer readers.

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  14. No point writing anything you yourself don't feel passionate about. I make that my rule.
    Thanks for your ongoing comments and the opportunity to keep this conversation going with you. I appreciate it.

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  15. Rick, a friend just sent me the link to your blog and saw your post about the lack of appealing gay greeting cards. This friend and I have actually created a line of cards that include cards designed specifically for a GLB audience. You can see samples here:

    http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/cher-odum.html?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=1545

    I'd love to hear your reactions and ideas about what you'd like to see in the way of gay greeting cards. Please get in touch with me!

    Dan
    www.firstadream.com
    dan@dansville.net

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey, Dan. Great to hear from you. And thanks for your interest in my blog. I will check out what's available on your website and provide feedback as requested.
    Thanks again, and I'll be in touch.
    Rick

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  17. Hi everyone!

    I'm actually a freelance greeting card artist with an online greeting card store. For the past 2 years I have been gradually adding greeting cards for both gay men and women and have had alot of success in my designs. I have been doing alot of research on my own for the past couple of weeks now on what is appropriate and what it is that the gay community is looking for in greeting cards.

    I would love to have you guys look at my store and tell me if I'm on the right track with my ideas. My few close gay friends have given their approval of my cards but I would love to of provide them and every other gay persons with not just choices...but great choices! At my store you are a regular customer, their are no dividing lines to seperate us. You go online to my store, search for a card that best suits the occasion (even if it's not same-sex oriented because I customise cards at NO-ADDITIONAL COST, just click on the 'Contact the artist link at the bottom of my store for any personal requests or just to leave your comments). My cards can be delivered internationally also. So please I would love your feedback, input, suggestions etc... I promise you that I try my best to get your visions on the greeting cards that you would actually want to give to your loved ones!

    The link to my store is -
    http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/CaribbeanInk

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oma, I really appreciate your responding to this post on my blog. As you see, I've received feedback from other readers, many of them as frustrated as I am trying to find greeting cards that are not pornographic and are appropriate to people in our lives whom we love dearly.

    I've visited your website a couple of times now, spot checking what you have available, and I have to admit I'm impressed. I think the art on the covers is appealing and colorful, and I especially love that the cards are not blank. I always personalize my greeting cards by writing something sincere and heartfelt, but having a great verse to inspire me is always appreciated.

    I think you've satisfied my expectations in all respects but one: When I wrote this post, what I specifically had in mind was greeting cards for gays and lesbians that validate us by depicting real people, in real life situations, showing their obvious closeness and love for each other. In other words, the art is great (if safe), but I want to see real photographs.

    If you want to know what I mean, take a look at a post I wrote on January 12, 2011 called "Positive Images (Revised)." See the picture of two older men, dressed fashionably, one holding the arm of the other? In my opinion, this depicts affection between two men, and it makes me feel good about myself when I see it. It reminds me of Chris and me, and the feelings we have for each other. It presents us as a gay couple in a positive way, not only to us but also to the world in general.

    In other words, the feelings I have for my partner are no different from the feelings straight people have for their partners, and I want to see that in my greeting cards, done in a respectful and dignified way. I feel very strongly toward Chris, and I want what I give him to reflect that. I don't want to give him cute, artistic greeting cards, because that's not how I feel about him (although I recognize some gay and lesbian couples would be very happy to do that).

    Thanks so much for your interest in my blog. I appreciate all the feedback I get. And, on behalf of LGBTQ people, thanks for including us in your greeting cards options. I have no doubt some of my readers will avail themselves of your website and products.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Rick,

    Thank you so much for your feedback and your honesty. I guess my cards although they are meant for the general gay community, they are safe. That's why I've been asking around for comments and feedback from everyone. I did look at the picture from the 'Positve Images Revised" blog. It's great....it shows everything that needs to be said without using actual words.

    The problem I've encountered is that I am a very small store in a sea of online greeting card stores that can afford to pay big $$$ for studio photographs. I usually use the photographs that I have...which are not many...for use in my designs.

    I was even contemplating on sending out a general proposal to the gay community to submit their own photos or depictions of what they want to see out there. Maybe your blog can help with getting the word out there. The photos submitted do not need to show faces in general. It can be a photo showing 2 gay men having breakfast in bed or walking arm in arm through a park. I have the ideas but not the means of making it happen. Do you have any ideas of who I should approach or a group that would be willing to submit photos like these?

    Please note- if you have your own personal photo with a tender moment or occasion that you shared I can use it to create a personal greeting card just for you. I work with customers to personalize their cards (even if it's just one card at no extra cost).

    I am willing to go the extra mile to help everyone find that perfect card for that special someone in their lives. So please, if you have any suggestions on how I can attain these images to use in my cards for the general public please let me know.

    Keep up the great work of blogging your thoughts and experiences to the LGBTQ Community and providing them with extra support.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi, Oma. Great to hear from you again. I was hoping you'd check back to see I'd left a response to your comment.

    After some of the other comments I received on this subject, Chris and I talked briefly about getting into the online greeting card business ourselves, incorporating some of our expectations of what they should be like. But we haven't managed to pull that together, and I seriously doubt we will. We'll let someone who's more passionate about it, like you, see what she can come up with. (But, seriously, with the right products, I have no doubt a lot of money can be made.)

    The big stumbling block for Chris and me would be obtaining pictures of gay couples, too. We wondered where they would come from. We couldn't see putting ourselves on the covers of all the cards, even though we're a real gay couple, but who else would be interested in having their pictures put out there, for as little money as possible?

    Obviously, the picture in the TD Canada Trust ad is of two male models, pretending to be a couple, which is one of the misgivings I had about it. I'd like to see real couples on the cards, but that's probably asking too much. The point is, models cost money, but real couples might be readily willing to contribute their photographs. So sending out a proposal to the gay community to submit their photos might not be a bad idea, but I'm not sure how you'd do that, or what kind of response you might get. Would people expect payment? That could impact your business adversely, so who knows? But it's worth a try.

    If you give me contact information, I would be happy to write a blog post, under the heading of positive images of gay men, requesting that gay and lesbian couples submit appropriate pictures to you for consideration. You'd need to be specific about what format they must be in, and I'm sure some kind of release form would need to be signed, ensuring no one comes back to you for monetary consideration. Sounds involved, doesn't it? But if you're interested, just let me know. Who knows? Some gay couples might take this on as a challenge and be happy to help you out. I'd do what I can.

    Your offer to prepare cards for Chris and me, with a picture of us on the cover, is enticing. I'll tell you, every Christmas, Chris and I always talk about creating a personalized card to send all our family and friends, but we never do it, simply because it sounds too involved. But if you could make this process easy for us, sell the cards at a reasonable price, and ensure the final product was entirely professional in appearance, I'd be happy to work with you on this project.

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog. I love what I do here, and I really appreciate any positive feedback I receive.

    I hope to hear from you again.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oma, since Blogger didn't return my response to your comment, here it is again. Thank goodness I kept a copy.

    Hi, Oma. Great to hear from you again. I was hoping you'd check back to see I'd left a response to your comment.

    After some of the other comments I received on this subject, Chris and I talked briefly about getting into the online greeting card business ourselves, incorporating some of our expectations of what they should be like. But we haven't managed to pull that together, and I seriously doubt we will. We'll let someone who's more passionate about it, like you, see what she can come up with. (But, seriously, with the right products, I have no doubt a lot of money can be made.)

    The big stumbling block for Chris and me would be obtaining pictures of gay couples, too. We wondered where they would come from. We couldn't see putting ourselves on the covers of all the cards, even though we're a real gay couple, but who else would be interested in having their pictures put out there, representing gay couples, for as little money as possible?

    Obviously, the picture in the TD Canada Trust ad is of two male models, pretending to be a couple, which is one of the misgivings I had about it. I'd like to see real couples on the cards, but that's probably asking too much. The point is, models cost money, but real couples might be readily willing to contribute their photographs. So sending out a proposal to the gay community to submit their photos might not be a bad idea, but I'm not sure how you'd do that, or what kind of response you might get. Would people expect payment? That could impact the profitability of your business adversely, so who knows? But it's worth a try.

    If you give me contact information, I would be happy to write a blog post, under the heading of positive images of gay men, requesting that gay and lesbian couples submit appropriate pictures to you for consideration. You'd need to be specific about what format they must be in, and I'm sure some kind of release form would need to be signed, ensuring no one comes back to you for monetary consideration. Sounds involved, doesn't it? But if you're interested, just let me know. Who knows? Some gay couples might take this on as a challenge and be happy to help you out. I'd do what I could.

    Your offer to prepare cards for Chris and me, with a picture of us on the cover, is enticing. I'll tell you, every Christmas, Chris and I always talk about creating a personalized card to send all our family and friends, but we never do it, simply because it sounds too involved. But if you could make this process easy for us, sell the cards at a reasonable price, and ensure the final product was entirely professional in appearance, I'd be happy to work with you on this project.

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog. I love what I do here, and I really appreciate any positive feedback I receive.

    I hope to hear from you again.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Rick,

    I do understand that I might be asking alot of the couples out there by submitting photos of themselves for greeting cards. But I was thinking that the pictures could be more subtle, without revealing their actual faces.

    eg.1 A couple walking arm in arm through a park but the photo could probably be taken from the back. So you don't see their faces...only the tender moment of walking freely together.

    eg.2 Or just 2 hands reaching across a table to be held. It's a little action that says so much.

    I have to thank you for actually considering putting yourself and Chris on my cards. That would be incredible. I think that there are so many ideas for these cards but I'm stumped as to how I can get them out there. I think that your idea about blogging to LGBTQ community about sending in photos is awesome. It doesn't have to be professional photographs....I think candid moments between couples are the most cherished. Plus I think that they don't have to go away empty handed. If I do get photos that I can use I am willing to let the owners of the selected cards get a chance to order a few cards for free from my store for their own use.

    And as for personalizing something like a Christmas card for family and friends at Christmas....I can promise you that I will work with you until you are satisfied with the product (which is a professional grade). I design so many Personal Photo Cards for Christmas, even I am amazed. And I devote the same amount of attention and time to a client who is purchasing 10 cards or 100 cards. Everyone deserves to share the same joys of receiving and giving greeting cards. Another plus to my store is that Personalized Cards go into my private gallery, it won't be for the general public's viewing as you enter my store. It will be only used as a reference for other customers who wish to personalize their own cards. (I would be willing to do a free greeting card just for you and Chris just for being so helpful).

    My personal email address is oma_xrebel@hotmail.com

    I look forward to hearing back from you and your fellow bloggers and supporters on this idea.

    AND LOOK OUT FOR MORE GREETING CARDS FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY IN MY STORE NEXT MONTH!!!


    Kind Regards,
    Oma N. Ramkhelawan

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oma N. RamkhelawanMay 18, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    I just viewed your message that you left at my store. I am not on the staff as an administrator/tech support like Dottie, her job is to give online support, she won't be able to recognise me as an individual on the site, she will probably refer to me by my store name Caribbean Ink.

    Anyway...you can contact me through my email address

    oma_xrebel@hotmail.com

    Kind Regards,
    Oma N. Ramkhelawan.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oma, thank you for your follow-up response. I'm thrilled that you're so interested in helping the gay and lesbian community by working with us to produce appropriate and professional greeting cards we feel good about giving to our families and friends. Like I said before, I believe there's an enormous opportunity here, both for you, the producer, and us, the consumers. Let's work together and make this happen.

    Within the next week or so, I'll write another post on this subject, giving my readers (from around the world) details regarding what you're looking for to assist you with this project. Comments in older blog posts like this one often get lost, and I suspect what you wrote above won't be seen by as many people as would see it if I wrote a new post altogether and placed it front and center. So, bear with me. I have added this to the list of posts I want to write.

    Regarding producing a card for Chris and me, I spoke to Chris about it last evening. And, while I think we already have a terrific picture we could use on a Christmas card--the one I use for my profile here on the left hand side, which we took locally on Christmas day in 2009--Chris thinks we should take an updated one. So we'll plan to do that. And it might be fun if we tried to come up with other photos of the two of us which we could then submit to you for your consideration. I'll see what I can do.

    Again, thanks for your willingness to help. As you can see, there's been a lot of interest in this post since I wrote it. Who knows? Maybe we can come up with a whole line of cards for LGBT people, and you could be more successful in your business than ever.

    I'll be in touch.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi! Wow, I am so glad I ran across this post and thank you (all of you) for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

    I have tried VERY hard to create a line of greetings for Life Partners and I sell quite well. I am about to create more for this line and wondered if you would be so kind as to look at some of what I offer and give me your honest opinion. I'd like to know if I am on the right track or not. A link to that section of my store is here http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/community/store.asp?store_id=2686&sg=-1&keyword=gay,%20lesbian&page=0

    Thank you for your time and I hope I have not overstepped my bounds by asking for input.

    Sincerely; Doreen

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Rick,

    I cannot thank you enough for even considering and actually attempting to help me develop this idea.

    And I do agree with you about starting a new blog on this topic. It would reach more people that way. I will also see if I have a model release form that will work for this particular venture. I would suggest that 'we' come up with guidelines or maybe you can pick a title for the pictures that 'we' would like to see. I say 'we' because I think that since you're the one with the vision of what you'd like to see out there...I would appreciate it if we could make it a joint effort and help screen the photos we might get and be able to use. But if it's too much work...I will understand, you've already been such a great help. As for the titles....

    eg. We could ask for a photo of a fun Summer day spent together...like simply sharing a snowcone etc... it would be up to the community to figure out how they percieve this idea.

    With a little organization and alot of determination, I know that I can do this. And as far as being successful, if even one person from the LGBTQ Community has the opportunity to find a card that best suits their occasion in my store just as fast as any other person, it makes it worth it!

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi, Doreen. Thanks for your interest in my blog and for taking the time to leave a comment.

    I think what you offer at your online greeting card store for gay and lesbian people is certainly an improvement over what I've seen at bricks and mortar stores (like Hallmark and Carlton). The art on the covers is unique and beautiful, and the verses are heartfelt and appropriate for the people we love so much. The fact you acknowledge us by having something specific to our needs makes me really happy, and I'm sure some of my readers will be interested to take a look at your website.

    Thanks for making me aware of what you have available, and for giving my readers another option. I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oma, please see my email to you for my response to your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Rick, thank you so much for taking the time to look and comment. I'm delighted to hear that I'm on the right track! If it's okay with you, I'll share my new designs with you when they are available. Should you ever have a specific request that I can create for you, or if you are interested in a small widget for your blog that will make you some affiliate bucks on these cards, please email me.

    Doreen
    StGeorgeSalon@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi, Doreen. I'll send my response to you at the email address you provided.
    Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am not Gay but have a dear friend that i would like to send a card too... but after seeing a sight of nude men with great bodies - doing things - that would be so-wrong for me a stright female to give to a friend... but wanting to acknowledge his life as he is a white guy and he buys me african american cards.... Look NY allows Gay marriage now - and still they have not caught up with reality... on fathers day you can find cards to mothers in the black-section LOL... there needs to be Cards Ecards that stright people can buy for thier Gay friends and family without freaking out.... Okay so i may be a prude but i remember when america freaked out over the AFRO in the 60-70's LOL
    I am tired of giving him Micky Mouse cards, Just like people had to get over interracial relationships - Gay is here to stay, but Ya'all too must help us - by maybe making a Cards that are that acknowledge but not so graphic... sorry if i sound homophobic.... If anyone knows any sites i may visit please send me
    at durishe@gmail.com
    Thank you
    Moni

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  32. Moni, I'm so proud of what you wrote here, and I'll tell you why.

    Not only do you speak for me--far better than I did in the blog post above--but you also speak for a lot of gay and lesbian people, who are fed up with the greeting card industry that we've made for ourselves. Not every gay or lesbian person wants to receive an obscene greeting card (as far as I can tell, it's much worse for gay men than it is for lesbian women).

    There may be a time and a place for nudity, sexuality, and obscenity, but on and in a greeting card for a birthday, or anniversary, or Christmas, or Father's Day, or any number of other occasions, isn't it.

    And, you are right, generic cards with Mickey Mouse or other animated characters aren't appropriate either. In general, the greeting card industry has to catch up to the rest of us and make available cards that are dignified and respectful. We must demand it.

    As I mentioned in an email I sent to you directly, there are online greeting cards stores that have started to recognize our special needs. One in particular is owned by a woman named Oma, and its name is Rainbow Moments Greeting Cards. You'll find the link here:
    www.greetingcarduniverse.com/rainbowmoments.

    Oma is keenly aware of our frustrations and needs, and she is willing to help any gay or lesbian person to design the perfect card for every occasion. Oma's store already offers an assortment of cards, and any one can be modified as necessary to ensure it's just right.

    Please check out Oma's store. I think you will be very happy with what she has to offer and her willingness to satisfy your needs.

    Thanks so much for your comment and for reminding us again how important this matter is to gay and lesbian people, and those in the straight community who support them.

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  33. This is a really great argument. It is difficult to discern, even within the gay community, what greeting cards are most appropriate. Personally, I was just as fed up with the overly sexualized homosexual oriented cards as I was with the hetero-normative market.

    So, and this is similar to a few of the other postings above, I DID try to do something about it. I'd really love your feedback, as you have a very distinguished opinion.

    My company, Out Loud Greetings is selling pleasantly designed & sentimental cards for a growing number of occasions for gays & lesbians. Check it out:

    http://www.outloudgreetings.com

    Ryan

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  34. I think what I wanted more than anything, Ryan, was choice. I didn't want, as you write, "overly sexualized" cards, which I considered offensive and inappropriate, especially to give to my life partner, nor did I want something from Hallmark or Carlton, which may have gotten the sentiment right but failed to acknowledge or celebrate the nature of my relationship.

    As you can see, there's been a lot of interest in this post over the past months. I've become acquainted with a number of people, many of whom made me aware of their own line of cards for gay and lesbian consumers. I was even affiliated with an artist in Trinidad and Tobago, who, for a brief period, worked with me to come up with a line of cards for us.

    I've taken a thorough look at Out Loud Greetings, and I like what you've started. There's an innocence and sweetness to the products, which, to me, is not a bad thing. The art designs are simple and tasteful, and I'm sure they will appeal to many gay and lesbian people who feel as you and I do about greeting cards as they relate to our demographic.

    I thank you for your interest in my blog and for taking the time to leave a comment. I wish you much success with Out Loud Greetings.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello,
    I just stumbled on this blog. Yes, gay ones, there are cards for you. I sell for a company in Washington DC. We try to have coverage in major cities in the USA, although finding stores willing to display is not easy.
    Pridegreetings.com

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  36. Also, gay ones, please stay away from Hallmark, American Greetings, Carlton, etc. In other words, go to small card shops. Chain stores and mega-card publishers are frightened of gays and gay things. They do not want us, and will not sell anything that represents us.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks for your comments, Bob.

    I've visited pridegreetings.com and was impressed by what I saw. Many of these cards--in particular, the ones featuring gay and lesbian couples in sensitive and respectful poses--are exactly what I had in mind. If I had a suggestion, it would be to make more of this type available.

    And I agree with your comment about Hallmark, etc. That said, the quality and selection of cards for gay and lesbian people at alternative locations need to be improved, in some cases, considerably. When that happens, I suspect Hallmark and the like will be avoided altogether.

    Thanks for making me and my readers more aware of what's out there for us.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Recently, I received the following email from an individual who plans to have an online greeting card store, featuring cards for gay and lesbian people, up and running by March 2012. You'll find a copy of her email below. If you're interested, please check it out.

    Hi there,

    I came across your blog on gay greetings cards by accident.
    I designed the cards above to be given with crystals but am now branching out into the greetings cards market with my designs.
    My website will be up and running by end of march 2012 and there will many cards devoted to the gay fraternity. All with good taste and deep and meaningful words.
    Hope to see you there www.crystalmacbeal.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for your interest in my blog. I appreciate you making me and my readers aware of your products.
    I wish you much success with your new business.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I continue to receive emails from individuals interested in meeting the greeting card needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

    Recently, Denise Dale made me aware of her website www.candiednotes.com. Here's what she had to say:

    "I have a card company and all of my cards are completely handmade for the GLBTQ Community. I started over six months ago to ready myself for Vancouver Gay Pride and Festival 2012 and become an Exhibitor. I had a tremendous response from the people in attendance and they all loved my work. Right now I have around 50 different designs and I hope to bring that number up to over 100 designs.

    "I also sell a really unique gift item I call "Time Capsule Pictures". There is a complete description of them at the online store.

    "We are offering everyone who makes their first purchase a free card of their choice."

    Finally, Denise invites us to:

    "...visit our online store by going onto Facebook, searching for Rainbow Candied Notes, and liking our page. Once we have over 30 LIKES we will have more tools available to us to make us more noticeable to the people who will benefit from our products. It is my hope to offer other products in my online store so I am open to any and all suggestions of what the community would like to see in an online store made just for them. We offer a very high quality product and we would appreciate the community's support."

    All the very best with your online business, Denise.

    Please be sure to check out www.candiednotes.com

    ReplyDelete