waf1Families. Just like homes, they come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and sexualities. I’ve shared my thoughts on the meaning of home in the past, but haven’t shared some of the negative experiences I’ve had because of who I love, and choose to share my home – my family – with. Bright.Bazaar isn’t a blog with political comment or a-fly-on-the-wall style look into every corner of my life, so I wasn’t sure whether to publish this post – it’s been a tough one to write. Yes, I share deeply personal posts occasionally, but only when the very nature of the subject or event, such as getting married, changes my life to an extent that it alters the fabric of my life, and how I lead it. I concluded that today’s post was important because it reflects on an accumulation of such moments, and how I hope to grow from them.waf2A month or so ago I saw that someone had left a homophobic comment below a post about a gay male couple’s home featured on Design*Sponge’s Facebook page. I sent Grace, the blog’s author, a note to say how sad I was to see that person leaving such a bigoted and distasteful remark. Although saddened by what I had read, I ultimately wasn’t surprised – being on the receiving end of homophobia (at times for something as mundane as wearing white jeans) was something I had experienced many times before.
In fact, Grace’s experience came the morning after a particularly horrible experience I’d had on a train the night before. My heartmate and I sat down opposite a man who we did not know and he was talking across the isle to another gentleman. Shortly afterwards he began to speak loudly and aggressively against homosexuality. He was adamant that gay culture was embarrassing, disgusting and should, at the very least, be kept under wraps and behind closed doors so ‘normal’ people in society don’t have to suffer it. We both felt immensely uncomfortable; sick to the pit of our stomachs – a mix of terrified cold sweats and searing anger. It was distressing and unnerving to be sat opposite a man with such aggressive, bigoted views.Yet, I am disappointed in myself because I didn’t say anything to him. I’d had the opportunity to enlighten him and try to show him that gay people are everywhere, and that we are no different from any other member of society with heterosexual desires or otherwise. But I was frightened and scared by stories of violent homophobic attacks that have taken place. I left the train feeling like a coward; my inner monologue telling me I could have done so much more.waf3Then, the following morning, I was having treatment from an Osteopath on my back and we were talking about the Holidays and were each of us spends Christmas. He asked me if I went home alone to my parents and I said yes. It was completely ridiculous but I suddenly felt awkward about having to explain that I was gay and married to a man. I’m not ashamed of it at all, and in retrospect I am almost certain that he would have had no issue with it. Yet the previous night’s event was lingering with me and stupidly I bottled it and skirted the truth to save it being a potential issue. I felt so cross at myself for doing something so stupid. There are so many LGBT people in the world facing far graver and more distressing situations than this, and it’s really made me realise how fortunate I am to have (touch wood) only had verbal attacks due to being gay in my life. It’s odd to write that I feel fortunate because of that, but in comparison to so many others, I really am.waf4

So as I shared my feelings with Grace (seen above with her wife, Julia, and their dog, Hope), who too had sadly been in similar situations, we agreed that we both wanted to try and do more to raise LGBT equality and awareness in our respective online communities – and hopefully beyond. We talked about how acceptance and understanding are regrettably not where it should be in other sectors of society, too. This led us to create #wearefamily2014 – a project that celebrates the diversity in family and champions equality for all no matter the race, religion, sexuality, gender and so on. The premise is simple: share an Instagram of what family at home looks like for you with the hashtag #wearefamily2014, and it will automatically feed through (only for newly posted images, not old images with the hashtag added to them at a later date; you can see all the images by searching the #wearefamily2014 hashtag on Instagram directly) to the #wearefamily2014 Tumblr page. Our hope is this accumulation of family photographs from across the world will show a united stand for equality, and be a celebration of the diversities of families across our globe. Here’s to taking steps forward to equality for all!

// Photography by Jean Laurent Gaudy, bar the last picture by Grace Bonney


Will Taylor

Will lives in NYC and is an interior design author and content creator. He's been blogging about his love of design, style and travel since 2009. His #MakeYouSmileStyle approach to decorating and dressing has inspired over one million Instagram uploads to the hashtag from followers across the world.


  1. Oh Will, this has left me with tears in my eyes!! I have so many dear dear friends who happen to be gay and have heard so many similar stories – so please don’t feel bad for not saying anything. It can be hard when you are confronted with stupidity and ignorance and bigotry – it’s hard for anyone. But no one has the right to tell you who you are ‘allowed’ to love (what a ridiculous thought just writing that down) and it’s not for anyone to judge you for the person that you are (which just so happens to be rather lovely). I love this stand that you are taking with Grace – it’s gorgeous and positive and wish you the best of luck in this important campaign. xxx

  2. This is exactly what needs to be done, simple and from the heart! I’m going to gladly participate and spread the word.
    Keep up the amazingly creative and passionate work.

  3. This is a wonderful idea for a campaign Will and I can’t wait to join in. Families definitely do come in all shapes and sizes. xx

  4. This is going to be a very beautiful thing Mr Bazaar! As a mixed race woman married to a gorgeous ‘white’ guy and mother to two wonderful ‘mixed race kids’ I can appreciate and welcome you wanting to raise awareness of what family life in 2014 ‘can’ look like. Together we need to celebrate the diversity of people and love and different lifestyles that make up a happy family. After all, who wants to be normal anyways!
    Well done for being brave and making this thing happen! Big love to you Will, from Allison x x x

  5. This is such an insightful post Will. I genuinely had no idea that gay people still experience stuff like this. It’s madness that people can be so ignorant in this day and age. Love your honesty – rang very true for me. Good luck with the campaign. Jx

  6. Never apologise for verging on political issues if it brings together something as beautiful and emotive as this. You do so much for equal rights without it having the ‘equal rights’ label. I am incredibly proud of you and Toby and look forward to seeing what you share. Keep up the great work and I will be throwing my weight behind this campaign without hesitation.

  7. When one of my sons was young, I remember him expressing an attitude about gay people I truly did not like and that he had clearly heard at school. I immediately called him on it and told him, in fact, our family had a number of good friends who happened to be gay (although we never identified them as such…why should we? They were our friends.) He wanted to know who they were and I told him, I would never identify any of our friends by their lifestyle, any more than I would do so by their religion, ethnicity or any other such attribute. I did tell him that he liked all of the individuals quite well, had had great fun with them in the past on family vacations and in our home. I asked him if he would reject people he knew and cared about simply because others declared that gay, black, Muslim, Christian, etc. people were not okay. He thought about it briefly and apologized for his remarks. Thankfully, the lesson stuck.

    And don’t feel bad about not addressing the man in the tube. There are just enough unpredictable individuals out there that not responding was a wise choice–not a wrong choice. The best thing you can do is live a good life. Do good things. Be a loving person. All things that you clearly already have accomplished. Ultimately, it is the best response of all.

    • @Mary – Thank you for sharing your story and for taking the time to leave such a warm and encouraging response. It sounds like you are raising your son very well. 🙂

  8. Oh Will! I will try to make this short altho this is an important issue. (I am at the library becuz We are Family seems to freeze my old computer at home). When my children were young and got on the school bus, I reminded them to stand up for the victims of the bullies. Once my son said, I do Mom but the bully does not stop. I told him he must never stop standing up for his classmate or he is essentially letting the bully win. When I was a child and my mom and I were leaving a dept. store, I said to my mom that the sales lady was mean and nasty to my mom. My mom said that the sales lady might have had a personal problem at home or a cross to bear that we knew nothing about so I should not judge and just let it go. You may also notice that I do not have my photo on my blog. I am over 50 (“I can’t hire an old lady to decorate my baby’s nursery, she probably does not know 21st Cent. style) and I am overweight (“she must be lazy”). So until I am successful in my new biz (my children and husband tell me I will be one day), I cannot show my face and take the chance of losing potential clients who may be prejudiced against old or chubby people. Unfortunately, there will ALWAYS be unkind people in the world Will. I hope your program brings you peace and awareness to some of those nasty people out there. Even if it changes one person’s negative view, that will be beautiful. I thank you for always being kind to me and encouraging me. Thank you again for your beautiful inspiration and bringing color into our lives. You and your husband are a lovely family 🙂

    • @Mary Beth – I’m saddened to read that you don’t have a profile picture for fear of being judged or not getting ahead in your business. My advice would be to add a profile picture because, after all, would you want to work with a client if they didn’t like the way you looked? You are so kind and supportive and I hope you very soon have the confidence to build your business proudly and without feeling this way. Sending hugs and support your way!

  9. Your story reminded me of my own experieces with racism. I’m European married to an Englishman from Carribean background. After we got married 14 years ago we lived in Germany for 5 years. We had small problems there like people staring at us but we got used to it. When we moved back to the UK we hired a removal company on the Continent and we met up with them at our new place in Surrey. The crew changed somewhere inbetween and while we were unpacking one of the men said to me in German why my husband doesn’t get his slave friends to help! It was like someone just punched me in my stomach. And like you I was so shocked I couldn’t defend my family, our daughter back then was 18 months. Since then we built up a thick wall around us. We had to. Afterwards we lived in Belgium, Switzerland and found that if people don’t know you they mean nothing to you. Their comments, states and actions don’t mean anything. It’s a human nature to be nosey and judgemental but you can’t take it personally. I think the #wearefamily campaign is good for awareness but some people won’t change their mindsets in their lifetime. So incidents like this will happen. But it’s up to you how you take it.

    • @Karolina – So saddened to read this story and feel for you that you had to go through those experiences. Thank you for the kind advice, too.

  10. Oh Will, I felt so sad when reading your story! Three of our best friends are gay and we don’t have any problem with their sexuality… Why would we? They are so sweet, much more thoughtful and very good at decorating too.

  11. A very good and important initiative! It is a pity that such awful situation still happen – and not in some underdeveloped countries but amidst societies we thought were open minded, modern, forward thinking, tolerant and accepting. Yet, we encounter such situations and feel like teleported to medieval times. Glad these negative experiences channeled into something good and productive to fight those situations!

  12. Dear Will,

    Thank you for this amazing initiative. I started writing my comment again and again. Not sure what to write as I feel really sorry for you, your husband and everyone else who can’t openly express love to the person they love most. I feel shocked that you would have to defend yourself because you love someone from the same sex. Please remember that you are perfect the way you are and that it’s their loss that they are so narrow minded. By excluding people, they miss out on a lot of fun, positivity and power. You rock! Let’s be family!

  13. Straight from the heart : ) What a great concept – I’m not on instagram but look forward to seeing all the pics on Tumblr.

  14. This bought a tear to my eye. Sad for the man on the train who will have such a limited life with his bigoted ways. Angry for you that you experienced it.
    Always remember that someone’s nastiness is how they feel about themselves and not your problem.
    My very kind and caring daughter was bullied recently and I am teaching her from a young age to see this.

    What you’re doing is fantastic. Love your positivity! X

    • @Lucy – Thanks for the vote of confidence and for supporting. Sorry to hear your daughter has been bullied, I hope she’s through the other side stronger and that it has stopped. x

  15. When I read what happened to you in the train my heart went to you and your husband…it must have been awful… it saddens me that there are still so many narrow-minded and bigoted people…
    Just try to remember that you and your husband are perfect as you are, and very lucky to have found each other.
    Big hug x

  16. Well done on such a good post, Will, I’m just so sorry that there are still bigoted, tiny-minded people in the world who are able to make others feel afraid and upset with their spiteful words. The #wearefamily2014 project is a brilliant idea and as soon as I can get my family unit of the hubbie and dog to agree to a pic (dog’s easy, hubbie less so) I’ll be joining in on instagram xx

  17. So sorry you had to sit and listen to such vitriol. Please don’t feel bad for not speaking up. Your personal safety is much more important than trying to enlighten a bigot. Thank you for your blog – it brightens my day!

  18. It breaks my heart to hear about your experience on the train. It makes me so angry! But you should not feel bad for not speaking up. People like that will probably never change their biased and stupid opinions and you shouldn’t have to have to listen to his bullshit and defend who you are. Especially not to him.
    Remember he’s the one there’s something wrong with. Not you or any gay/lesbian/bi/transexual.
    You’re a good person and that’s all that should matter. You should just be happy that you’re nothing like him 🙂

  19. I don’t have enough and the right words in English to describe what I feel, to describe which kind of anger fills me up when episodes like the one you’ve unfortunately lived come to my ears.
    I feel like it’s a continuos fighting to have normal rights; who is he-she to judge another human being because of the love he/she feels?
    A big “battle” is happening in Italy in these days while authorities are getting decisions about marriage between 2 men/women: there are so many people, even young people who spend their time publicly protesting in various cities because they pretend to know the biggest truth and meaning of the words FAMILY and MARRIAGE. and it’s a shame how many people in 2014 still hate others only because of their thoughts/ideas/love. Even if, I’d say, most of all the times it’s just envy. Envy for not having the same opportunity of freedom in expressing their own feelings.
    At the end it’s not being different, it’s being stupid, ignorant in the deepest meaning ever.
    I’ve just know a guy in Italy has been left outside his home by his parents only for telling them his love for another guy. He sleeps in the car. Can you imagine these things still happen? I can’t. I literally can’t.
    I feel ashamed of being the same “being” of these beasts: how can we, humans, pretend to be intelligent animals when we act like that?
    Love and support Will, life is such a beautiful, coloured time we all have to spend with whom we love.
    Humans, cats, dogs, friends. Family is just what we have in our hearts.
    A big hug, ciao Bella!

    • @Guilia – Thank you for taking time to leave such a heartfelt comment. It was upsetting to read of the guy who is having to sleep in his car – absolutely awful treatement as so sad that it’s from his nearest and dearest too. I hope his family will see sense very, very soon. Big hugs back.

  20. Will that is terrible! People can be so ignorant & cruel, it’s not about you it’s about them not loving themselves enough to be champions of others. You are a beautiful person & it’s so unfortunate that people only see what they want to see. I love your & Grace’s campaign, such a beautiful way to celebrate the diversity of families & what a family truly means! Xx jana

  21. Will I’m so sad to hear this happened to you and Toby. Unfortunately haters will hate, and you were probably better off not speaking up, and keeping safe.
    Great initiative – it takes people like you to change the mindset of those who hate. I look forward to following #wearefamily2014 – Well done and stay safe 🙂

  22. It makes me so sad & angry to hear about your experience! I can´t understand how someone can think that´s just one “kind” of love or “right” love. Love is love and it´s always beautiful!
    Don’t blame yourself for not saying anything! Sadly it’s not worth taking the risk to talk to a man like that on the train. #wearefamily2014 is so much better way to spread awareness and focus about this issue and you will reach far more people this way than just talking to one man on the train!
    Big thumbs up for this initiative! xx

  23. Dear Will,
    I am really sorry to read about this terrible experience…
    I would like to share a part of our life with you. In our close friends circle, we are fortunate to have a gay couple. They’re some of the closest friends we have and I am delighted when they propose to babysit my son (11 years old now). When I let him with them, it is the time when I feel the most reassured, because I know my son is in the best care possible, often spoiled but in a good way :-). He already stayed with them while being sick and unable to go to school (it was not possible for me that time to skip work). I felt at peace and knew my son would be very well looked after… I don’t have the same feeling with many other friends. But above all, I am so happy that my son has the chance to see that, as you say, life and family come in different shapes, styles, religions, professions and sexualities.
    Please, keep in mind all the positive tokens you receive from friends and people who love you, they always have been and always will be haters…
    Wishing you all the best

    • @Steph – It sounds like you are raising your son very, very well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, and for your on-going support. x

  24. Dear Will,

    Life is long and no doubt you will encounter many more such incidents, because the world is full of ignorant and uneducated and intolerant people. The important thing is that you’re not afraid to shine a light on these experiences, so that others will learn from them. Don’t ever be afraid of who you are; that’s what makes you unique and powerful. And by standing up for yourself and your family – rather than trying to “edit” your life to fit others’ narrow-minded expectations – you make the world a better place. Keep speaking out; your voice has meaning and power.

  25. I always love reading your more personal posts Will, they are always inspiring and uplifting, even if, sadly, the reason to have written them in the first place comes from a more upsetting place.

    I absolutely love the idea of #WeAreFamily2014 and look forward to participating. What a wonderful idea to engage your readers and the wider community in to doing something lovely and positive that will help us all reflect on how lucky we are.

    Love Annabel xXx

    • @Annabel – I am smiling knowing that although difficult to write the posts are helpful and inspiring to you, thank you for taking time to leave such an encouraging comment, and for your support of #wearefamily2014. x

  26. I love the term my heartmate! Will use it in my life!
    I recently watched the press conference for the new movie Pride (which is based on real events – gays & lesbians supporting miners in UK) and the woman who actually was involved with it all in real life – she said this amazing thing – it doesn’t matter who you love as long as you love. and if there was more love in the world then there would be less hate, anger, intolerance etc.
    All the best to you and your loved ones!

  27. Thanks for this Will, sincerely. Growing up gay in a small town in rural America I know all too well how close minded some people can be, and I like you have kept my mouth shut far too many times. I know that exact feeling you described. It’s a mix of fear, anger, and a bit of hatred. I don’t think it’s hatred towards that person, but towards the idea that we are less than, that we can’t be whole heartedly ourselves without fear. Fear of name calling, laughs, or worse physical violence. I, like you, am lucky to say that I’ve never been in a physical altercation because of my sexuality, but there have been times where I have wondered if it would lead to that. Cheers to you for being brave, being you, and helping paint our community in a better light. You made me tear up reading you post, and I appreciate it. Last but not leas, thanks for giving me hope of finding my heart mate.

    • @TKG – I am so pleased you appreciated the post but saddened by how much you could relate. It must have been really tough growing up in that environment and all credit to you for coming through the other side. Sending hugs your way, Josh.

  28. Will, As a longtime fan of both you & Grace I’m so sorry that people are so cruel to you both. I’m fairly cynical about this world but I do believe that love is love and I don’t understand how anyone can take the time to spew their hate at you (on a design blog no less)! Thank you for sharing this with us and I hope your stories help others dealing with the same thing. I think I speak for all of your readers here that we are with you and if someone has a problem with it they can go find their design advice somewhere else!

  29. It is sad that there are so many hateful people out there. But there are many that do believe that love = love, and I hope we’re all out there voting today to make our voices heard.

  30. All the best from my family to yours. I just found your blog this fall and love it!

  31. Thank you for that post. xx
    P.S. The photo of your feet under the table is lovely.

  32. Fiona reid Reply

    Hello Will,

    I had to leave a message after reading this post. I’m so heartened to see the wealth of positive responses and love and respect heading your way here. I just wanted to say, please don’t beat yourself up because of how you feel you should have responded to the guy on the train. I’d say to anyone when faced with this situation, words are just words. They are hurtful words, brutal words, words that can rip through you like a blade, and in the film version of this scene you’d stand up to him, and if it turned nasty you’d also handily have some Bourne-like martial arts skills to react with.

    But life isn’t a movie, and you and your husband’s safety is always paramount. I’d say the same to anyone. Writing this post and sharing this #wearefamily2014 initiative is a more powerful response to bigotry than any train conversation could be. Truly. Some people simply can’t be changed, or rather they *won’t* be changed, but remember that bigotry, whatever the cause, is their shame, not yours. X

  33. Will, that mad me so sad and angry to read that, it didn’t surprise me unfortunately, my friends in Sydney of all places have experienced the same.. and you think we’ve moved on. You weren’t a coward for not saying anything, there’s no way that you could have gotten through to somebody like that. What you’re doing now is huge so good on you and I’m going to find a photo of my little family right now. Big hugs and love to you! Mel x

  34. So sorry to hear what happened. Apologies for this late comment, I’m always late reading everyone’s blog posts. All I can say is that it is admirable you felt able to share your experience and reaction to the situation. Yes, we should celebrate diversity ( being in a mixed race marriage and doc for older patients who face age discrimination) Great you and Grace are raising such awareness. Big hugs and take care x

  35. Cindy Fuller Reply

    I think it’s just awful in this day and age people still can get away with this. You actually were the bigger person for walking away and brave for sharing your story.

    Sadly there a lot of people who are completely ignorant in this world and it’s not our job to teach them. Big hugs from the UK

  36. I am so sorry to read this post and am saddened that some people on this planet think they’re better than others and are just fine humiliating and belittling strangers on a train. How low and dirty. Like you, hurt lingers long with me and is hard to shake. I wish you well.

  37. Thank u will for this post.
    What happens to you happened to all of us
    I wish the best for u both.

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.