Ikea Canada debuted a line of love seats last week that were inspired by various LGBTQ Pride symbols — but queer people have mixed feelings about them.
The line features 10 couches with designs that are inspired by the transgender flag, the lesbian flag, the bisexual flag, the nonbinary flag and the two-spirit flag — which represents Indigenous people who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit — among others.
John Williams, Ikea Canada's diversity leader, said celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia as well as Pride Month “means advocating for a more fair and equal world free from homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.”
“We want people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to feel at home at IKEA and everywhere," he said in a statement. "This year's Love Seats collaboration aligns with our commitment to create community for, and uplift the voices of, our 2SLGBTQ+ co-workers and customers, so that they feel welcomed, respected and appreciated for who they are," the statement said, referring to an expanded acronym for the queer community that includes two-spirit people.
The love seats were designed and created by LGBTQ artists, and they debuted with a video featuring people who belong to the communities that each love seat represents. While seated on the couches, they share their "love stories."
"The love story I want to share is my love for community," Marisa Rosa Grant said while seated on the nonbinary love seat. "It is when I found community that I really started to feel comfortable and really felt loved."
Jena Nassar who appears on a love seat inspired by the lesbian flag with her partner, Veronica, said she feels grateful for the flag. “It's a source of inspiration, belonging, progress and acceptance," she said in the video.
The love seats aren't currently for sale, but they will be on display at select Ikea locations in Canada throughout the summer, according to a press release.
Reactions to the love seats have been mixed. Some people love them and want to buy them.
Others praised Ikea for hiring LGBTQ artists to design the couches.
Other LGBTQ people joked about the couches and turned them into memes.
The bisexual pride couch, which features pink and purple gloves and three-dimensional pink hands on its arms, drew particular ire.
People were confused about the text on the bisexual pride couch, designed by Charlotte Carbone, which reads "When you change OR to AND, nobody believes you."
The text was written by spoken-word poet Brian Lanigan, who explained the concept for the couch on social media. He said the line is from a poem he wrote in high school about bisexual erasure.
He also shared video of himself performing the poem more than 10 years ago.
People also enjoyed the couch inspired by the Progress Pride flag.
Though the couches inspired jokes, Ikea Canada wrote in its press release that they were really about sharing the stories of LGBTQ people.
Bianca Nachtman, who designed one of the trans flag-inspired love seats, the two-spirit flag love seat and the pansexual flag love seat said she enjoyed designing with someone's personal story in mind.
“As a designer, I’ve always created items that allow for people to express themselves truly and I was so happy to bring that into these Love Seats,” she said, according to a press release. “Molding these couches to reflect someone's intimate experience was one of the most rewarding aspects of this project.”