7E Seven Even Clothing creator, Gina Pecoraro's coming out story and how this amazing LGBTQ company came to be!
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A NICKNAME BECAME A BRANDMike was calling Gina out on a little fact about herself that he knew, and she just wasn't ready to accept. Mike, who made-up this nickname for her, was also gay and you know what they say about gaydar...well I guess it's true! Any chance Mike had to express that Gina was a "Seven" throughout the day, well he made sure of it.
Mike and Gina met when she first moved to Florida after graduating high school in Long Island, New York. He was one of the first friends she made, and they were constantly around one another. They worked, hung out, and partied together so the "Seven" comments never really ended...even when she was dating guys and finally met the one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with! So, instead of really taking the time to reflect and think about who she was and what she knew in her heart to be right, she went on to marry a wonderful guy like she was "supposed" to do. Being caught up with planning her wedding and getting her life in order (since Gina and her fiancé were moving back to her hometown in New York) Gina just didn't really listen to what was within herself. She'd now taken a huge step in her life, but it was in the wrong direction.
A few months after her wedding, Gina and her husband attended one of Gina's childhood friend's wedding. She remembers standing in the church watching her and her soon-to-be husband gazing at one another with such genuine love and excitement to begin spending their lives together. This was what sparked Gina's inner self to sit back and reflect. She's going to be honest, it wasn't fun. Gina had repressed who she was for most of her life and now she had put herself in a situation that would destroy something huge. But she had to do it. She was a lesbian. Gina kept repeating that over and over again until she accepted it. Once she accepted who she was, Gina felt uplifted again. She finally felt like herself and full of life. She wanted a life...a life of pure love and happiness just like she saw at her friend's wedding.
After nine months of being married to this wonderful guy who would be swept up by any girl, Gina told him everything and she let him go. Times were often rough after that. She felt lost and alone and she'd ask herself, "What the hell did I do?! What am I doing?!" And to Gina's surprise, he turned out to be her biggest support and helped her get back on her feet. The card picture above is one of the ways he supported her. This card meant so much to Gina. He helped her find the courage to start telling her family and friends and start living life with excitement. Gina is forever grateful for that. Of course, once the process of coming out was started, the first phone call she made was to Mike and not to her surprise, he laughed. He laughed in a way of genuine support and love. Gina will never forget it.
The first few times she was a nervous wreck, but the more people Gina told, the easier it got. She started to feel more comfortable with herself which lead her to start using different ways to tell people: for example, she used Lance Bass' cover story on People Magazine. The title was "I'm Gay," so she would carry this around with her and pass it off and it made the process a lot easier. Seeing him on the cover of this massive magazine coming out to the world...Gina knew she could do it in her little world. Before she knew it she was living the life she was born to live. Gina felt a huge burden lifted from her shoulders and for once in her life, Gina felt open and free! Free from repression, doubt and fear and open to her new life that's been waiting for her. She finally broken down the barrier she'd placed over herself, trying to hide who she truly was.
So, when did Seven Even Clothing come into play? After coming out Gina took notice of what was available to the LGBTQ community as far as clothing goes. There were rainbows galore! It was great to see all of these people who were just like her and who had gone through a similar struggle showing solidarity, but wearing rainbows just wasn't Gina's style. She felt that just because she's a lesbian didn't mean she'd have to wear rainbows or provocative shirts that announced her sexuality to the world as she passes through it. So, given Gina's art background, she started designing some t-shirts and put the nickname "Seven" (the name that once drove her crazy!) to good use. That's when Seven Even Clothing was born.
Gina continues to say, "I thank you for reading my story and if it helps just one person who is struggling get through and see that life does gets better, I've accomplished the reason why I started this clothing line. Being part of the LGBTQ community, we all go through the same process of having to accept who we are and come out. It's such a burden to have to do this because of what society has defined as "normal" and "not normal." I hope that one day the people who make up our LGBTQ community don't have to go through this process; they can just express who they are and who they're in love with without the whole trying to explain why. But until then, we all have different coming out stories to tell which makes us all the more unique.
Be Proud. Be Strong.