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Meet the childhood best friends turned boyfriends behind Gay Pride Apparel’s viral clothing

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For Jesus Gutierrez and Sergio Aragon, Gay Pride Apparel wasn’t just a labor of love but a product of the love between them—decades in the making.

The pair, both with parents from Mexico, met in the sixth grade in Phoenix. However, their personal journeys diverged: Gutierrez came out as gay at age 12, while Aragon kept his secret to himself until college. 

Gutierrez used to write Aragon letters encouraging him to share anything whenever he wanted, perhaps when he was ready. Naturally, they had to taste the murky waters of dating at different colleges to realize they need not look further than each other. 

Now, the 29-year-old boyfriends sit side by side, all giddy on a Zoom call with So.Gay. It’s obvious their childhood meet cute is a tale they keep readily available up their sleeves as they join the ranks of culture’s best love stories that began with unyielding friendship.

The longtime duo have expanded their special connection from the bedroom to the boardroom, running Gay Pride Apparel, an e-commerce clothing site dedicated to queer empowerment and cultural irreverence.

In other words, casual fashion that understands the LGBTQ+ community just wants to take down the patriarchy—and have fun! They specialize in all things rainbow, most notably text on T-shirts that make readers smirk. 

All their tees manifest as quite literally a *mood*, at least if you’re queer.  

Some of their most popular tees read “Sounds Gay, I’m In,” “Bisexual & Still Not Into You,” “Gay & Tired,” “The Cisheteros are Upseteros, ” “The Gays Are Gaying,” and “Too Hot to be Straight.” 

Of course, the idea for the company started the same way as any successful business venture: there was a market and a need. 

“We couldn’t find anything cute to wear for [Pride season],” says Aragon, who shares that it helped that they both had retail backgrounds. He specialized in product merchandising, while Gutierrez worked in e-commerce. 

Their dynamic echoed similarities as lovers and business partners: they didn’t quite finish each other’s sentences, but their differences complemented and built off each other.

The company came to fruition in 2019, even if Pride festivals worldwide soon came to a halt. Luckily, slogan tees surged during the pandemic when masks covered people’s feelings, coincidentally when their presence on Instagram took off. And it appears they’re back in style for 2024, so who is up for a Witty Gay Summer?

“We don’t think about the shirt first; we almost always think about Instagram first,” says Aragon. They have a very hands-on relationship with the community when deciding on the next cheeky creation. 

Gutierrez adds that Pride month is obviously their bread and butter, but they curate their musings to fit the calendar, even if he describes some of their designs as “stupidity” in real time. 

They share that transitioning from just Pride participants to business owners educated them on the lives beyond their bubble. For example, the company printed a t-shirt with the wrong lesbian flag; the founders learned from their customers that it was outdated. 

They say people are typically forgiving if you’re willing to educate yourself and do the work. 

Yes, they have to worry about selling and making ends meet, but it’s their responsibility to ensure their product resonates with all the letters in LGBTQ so that their company is worthy of its name. 

Ultimately, there’s something inherently queer about saying a lot with a little, instilling a widespread sense of relatability with a phrase. 

After all, one gay’s stupidity is another gay’s “Yaas Queen!” 

The world seems to agree, and Gay Pride Apparel has amassed over Instagram 80,000 followers keeping up with their next iconic catchphrase.

Unlike corporations, Gutierrez says they have the luxury for their content to be quickly decided between two gay people rather than to be filtered through a chain of corporate ethos and fragility. 

An explicitly queer company’s foundation cannot be anything but prideful—at least when it comes to branding and SEO. 

In years that feel like a domino effect of dark times, it is Gay Pride Apparel’s core messaging and lightness that resonate most with customers. Even when it feels like the world is spiraling, the resilience of humanity—gay or straight—doesn’t shy away from a laugh.

Aside from a recently launched Pride capsule with Walmart and no shortage of impressive collaborations, Gay Pride Apparel hopes to continue cultivating its online community, including channeling its Instagram success into TikTok. 

“Let’s tell people who we are,” says Aragon about their plans. “Let’s keep pushing ourselves more and more… We learn from our customers and want to grow with them.” 

Once again, Pride season will see a slew of companies temporarily wield the rainbow for dollars, but people should actively support the vendors that have it ingrained in their bones. 

Gutierrez and Aragon won’t slow down with their business agenda so long as it sounds gay enough for the LGBTQ+ community to be in. 

You can shop Gay Pride Apparel here.

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