Fearlessly Proud LGBTQIA+ Business Owners You Should Know

Jun 3, 2021

Illustration of LGBTQIA+ merchants and people celebtrating

From offering online counseling for LGBTQIA+ couples to handcrafting the snazziest bowties we’ve ever seen, our out and proud merchant partners inspire us every day in all of the myriad ways they uplift and support their communities.


Dr. Gregory Canillas of Soul 2 Soul Global

Clinical Psychologist Helping LGBTQIA+ Couples Emerge from 2020 Stronger Than Ever

Dr. Gregory Canillas, Ph.D

Dr. Gregory Canillas, Ph.D has over two decades of teaching, administrative, and clinical experience working with LGBTQIA+ couples

It’s definitely going to take some work to unpack the megaton of stress we repressed during 2020. Dr. Gregory Canillas, Ph.D is just the man for the job. Through Soul 2 Soul Global, he’s helped countless couples in dealing with the off-kilter life rhythms and added strain brought on by The Year of All The Bad Things®. Having focused his 20-year career on helping people of color and LGBTQIA+ clients—and as a Black, Filipino, gay man himself—Dr. Canillas has a deep understanding of the additional stressors LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC couples face by simply being members of marginalized groups. During the Love Wins! Virtual Couple’s Retreatcouples learn to communicate more openly, understand each other’s values, and “turn up the heat in the bedroom”—all in four hours. Perfect for LGBTQIA+ couples who are “short on time, but serious about their relationship.”


"To be healthy and happy, one must be their authentic self.”

-Dr. Gregory Canillas, Ph.D


“To be healthy and happy, one must be their authentic self,” says Dr. Canillas. “My absolute favorite quote about this is from Audre Lorde: ‘If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.’ This quote and belief system greatly influenced the creation of the online and on-ground retreats at Soul 2 Soul. When we help clients to change their beliefs about self, it has a ripple effect. It changes how they interact with their spouse or partner, and ultimately with their children (if they chose to have them). It is instrumental in breaking generational curses."


Deroll Scarlett of TYED By Dede

Maker of the Snazziest Bow Ties We’ve Ever Seen

No one loves bowties more than Deroll Scarlett. “Every day is a bow tie occasion!” he says. Frustrated with the high cost and downright boringness of store-bought ties, Deroll launched TYED by Dede with the promise that “TYED by Dede customers won’t have to worry about attending an event and having twenty people in the same tie.” Look no further than their signature feathered bow ties. If we gave out an award for “Coolest Thing Available on Groupon” TYED by Dede’s ties would be a frontrunner: actual bird plumage, bundled by Deroll himself into iridescent, one-of-a-kind accessories sure to turn heads at all the post-vaccination parties we’re all going to start having.

TYED by Dede has since blossomed into a full-fledged fashion house, and now offers a wide array of suspenders, ties, socks, and other handmade fashion accessories for dapper folks (and pets!) of all ages. Their Monthly Bow Tie Subscription Boxes send customers a monthly wardrobe upgrade with a new luxury bow tie, pocket square, and cufflinks in every shipment.


Deroll Scarlett of TYED BY DEDE

examples of TYED BY DEDE bow ties


As his brand has grown, Deroll has redirected energy back into the LGBTQIA+ and Black community by donating custom pocket squares to a variety fundraising efforts, including the AIDS Walk in New York. And last year, during the pandemic, he sent 400 pairs of socks to front line healthcare professionals across the country.


Panti Bliss of PantiBar

“Unofficial Queen of Ireland” Who Became an Accidental Gay Rights Icon

Dubbed “Dublin’s hottest Gay Bar” by Condé Nast Traveler, PantiBar prides itself on its inclusive and energetic atmosphere, its devilishly charming bartenders, and its nightly DJs, music bingo and drag shows. But the highlight of any evening are the occasional cameos from owner, (and “Unofficial Queen of Ireland”) Panti Bliss—that is, of course, when she’s not on TV or touring the world.

The alter ego of writer/performer Rory O’Neill, Panti Bliss has blazed a glitter-dusted trail through the streets of Dublin since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Ireland in 1993. SInce then, she’s hosted Dublin’s annual Pride celebrations, and performed to sold-out auditoriums all over the world with her globetrotting cabaret show, Riot!


Panti Bliss of PantiBar (Illustrations by Pradeep Mahadeshwar)

Illustration by Pradeep Mahadeshwar

"To grow up in a society that is overwhelmingly and stiflingly homophobic and to somehow escape unscathed would be miraculous.”

-Panti Bliss from her Noble Call speech at the Abbey Theatre in 2014


A self-described “accidental gay rights activist,” O’Neill found himself (somewhat reluctantly) at the forefront of Ireland’s struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights. But, after calling out members of the Irish media on national TV for being “really horrible and mean about the gays,” O’Neill ignited a weeks-long media firestorm that turned the issue of homophobia in Ireland into a national talking point. From local pubs to newspaper editorials, to TV programs to the floor of the Irish Parliament itself—everyone was paying attention.



Following a show at the Abbey Theatre, Panti delivered an encore for the ages: an astounding mic-drop of a monologue, rich with dramatic details, unshakable wit, and heart-rending confessions that laid bare the stark realities of what it’s like to live even the most mundane of moments as a gay person in a homophobic society.

Garnering praise from the likes of Stephen FryMadonna, and RuPaul, Panti’s speech was seen by nearly a million people. It galvanized the LGBTQIA+ community in Ireland and abroad and a year later, Ireland ratified the Marriage Equality Referendum, thereby legalizing same-sex marriage.

And the dress Panti wore during that speech? It’s featured inThe National Museum of Ireland, in the Rainbow Revolution exhibit—an exhibit which commemorates iconic moments of the LGBTQIA+ movement in Ireland from the 17th century till now.