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Meet Galen J. Williams of CategoryIsPrideTee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Galen J. Williams.

Galen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
So, on my IG (@galenjwilliams), every now and then I’ll post a video of me practicing Vogue. Now keep in mind, I’m not in a House or really a part of the Ballroom scene, but I LOVE the culture of Ballroom and really have a desire to be good at voguing. So I realized that every time I Vogue, I’m essentially taking ownership of my queerness and taking pride in my feminine side, and so I came up with this post after a vogue clip that said:

Cat Walking over “Man Up”
Duck Walking through toxic masculinity
Hand Performance to swat away the homophobes
Floor Performance on my haters
A spin into a dip for every “sissy!”, “punk!” Or “bitch!”
10s for owning all of it.

Well, a good friend of mine saw it (my business partner Brodie Proctor) and was like “omg this needs to be a shirt!” And I was like, “Really? You think so? Okay!” And so I condensed the above message to purely feature the Five Elements of Vogue, and then I realized, there is a whole world of pride and representation within the ballroom scene that can go onto T-Shirts, Coffee Mugs, Phone cases, etc. So this was before June, Pride Month, and I decided to create an online Pride store that celebrates Pride through the world of the Gay Ballroom Scene. I got inspired and sketched out some ideas and decided to reach out to my good friend and graphic designer, Nickolas Vaughn, who brought those ideas to life in an amazing visual way by creating the graphics for the shirts, and thus the store was born!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Yes and no. It’s been smooth in terms of getting the website up and running, a good amount of friends and even strangers have supported and purchased coffee mugs and shirts. But an unforeseen circumstance that’s put a huge bump on the road has been the pandemic and its effect on production. I outsource my shirts through a third-party printing company that’s experiencing extreme delays due to new safety measures they have to put in place to run their company safely. So because of their delays, it puts delays on my store orders and my customers who end up waiting five to six weeks just to get their merchandise. It’s very disappointing and frustrating because it’s something that is out of my control. But my customers who have majority been friends of mine have been very patient and understanding in the process so I’m grateful that people are exercising patience and consideration in the name of the pandemic.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Well, my online Pride store is a Black-Owned, Graphic T-Shirt store that is specifically catered to LGBTQ Pride and the Gay Ballroom community. We are one of a kind store because we’re celebrating pride and queerness through different categories and identities within the Ballroom scene. We incorporate and honor the rainbows of pride but we also hold space and have options for those who don’t want rainbows and just want the representation. There’s something for everyone in our store, from the actual Icons and Legends of the Ballroom to the fans, supporters and spectators who attend the balls. So even though the store came to be during and for Pride season, for us Pride is year-round. And even as trends change, we stay current and produce content that reflects the times we’re in. There’s a whole Black Lives Matter rollout that we’re working on right now in which proceeds from those sales will go to a Black-Owned LGBTQ Human Rights organization in efforts to contribute to the fight against racism and inequality towards Queer and Trans Black and Brown bodies in America.

What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been a bit more vibrant than others growing up. But I grew up in the South, with very conservative parents who upheld Christian beliefs so my authentic self wasn’t always embraced or approved of. But I was able to express myself on stage without judgment so all of that vibrancy that I had to contain around family and throughout school coming up, my outlet was the stage. It started in elementary school doing School House Rock Jr. on the Cafeteria stage, went on through high school and college with dance and musical theatre, up to now where I’m a full-time actor and creative artist. So I’m grateful for those spaces that allowed me to be my authentic self, the friends and mentors that encouraged me to always be myself in spite of whatever negativity was being thrown at me. It’s because of those spaces and those people that I am able to have the pride I have for myself as a Queer-Identifying Black Man in America.

Pricing:

  • Nothing in our store costs more than $30.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Lelund Durond, Trace Lysette, Alexandra Billings, Alexandria Bates

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