Why Ikea's Bisexual Pride Loveseat is Facing Backlash

Ikea has innovated for almost 80 years in the world of furniture, providing flatpacks to the masses. In honor of Pride, Ikea Canada has released 10 limited edition designs of loveseat.

While many have proved popular, one in particular has received backlash from buyers.

Why Ikea's Bisexual Pride Loveseat is Facing Backlash

The Bisexual Loveseat was designed by Charlotte Carbone, and included words from a poem by Brian Lanigan.

On the loveseat were colors of the bisexual flag, with pink, purple and blue handprints added all over the couch.

The words written over the back cushions read: "When you change 'or' to 'and,' nobody believes you."

According to comments from Lanigan, this refers to a comment made to him by an ex, who could not understand his bisexuality.

Since the launch of the loveseats on June 24, there has been a backlash to this sofa.

One Twitter user began a thread that gained some traction online.

@jenny2x4 wrote: "Biphobia does exist and it's this chair specifically."

Biphobia does exist and it’s this chair specifically pic.twitter.com/Wg7aKhnWtm

— Fairy Gothmother, MD (@jenny2x4) June 29, 2021

After other users pointed out the poet is also bisexual, and explained the meaning, the user added: "Ok at least I get it. I mean it should have stayed in his high school diary but at least I get it."

Ok at least I get it. I mean it should have stayed in his high school diary but at least I get it

— Fairy Gothmother, MD (@jenny2x4) June 29, 2021

Other elements of the couch which caught people's attention was the three-dimensional arms and hands that appear over the couch.

One user, @st_somatic, wrote: "bisexual couch has literal ARM RESTS" while others were shocked at them being three-dimensional at all, rather than a print.

bisexual couch has literal ARM RESTS pic.twitter.com/AIsefQnC5Z

— ava september hofmann (@st_somatic) June 29, 2021

@thepplsbottom was also unsure of the designs of the couches, saying: "Y'all kept screaming about representation and now we have these cursed couches"

Y’all kept screaming about representation and now we have these cursed couches

— Ex_Wife_Material (@thepplsbottom) June 29, 2021

Speaking to Ikea Canada as part of the campaign, Lanigan explained how this line in his poem was an example of bisexual erasure, where people attempt to deny the existence of bisexuality.

He said: "It's not all of me, it's part of me. That label only describes one section of my life and identity.

"My art and conversations don't all have to be based around bisexuality, I can also simply exist."

The poet also explained how he had experienced homophobia and bullying since coming out as bisexual as a young teenager.

He tweeted off the back of some of the backlash, tweeting as @braino_drano: "Hey everyone, I'd love to explain the NOBODY BELIEVES YOU love seat!

"The line "when you change 'or' to 'and', nobody believes you" is from a poem I wrote in high school about bisexual erasure I experienced from an ex-partner and others."

Hey everyone, I’d love to explain the NOBODY BELIEVES YOU love seat! The line “when you change ‘or’ to ‘and’, nobody believes you” is from a poem I wrote in high school about bisexual erasure I experienced from an ex-partner and others.

1/2 pic.twitter.com/RoiD9u04Xs

— bisexual couch guy brian (@braino_drano) June 29, 2021

I’m a spoken word poet and the hands are meant to represent the audience reaction, especially those of other bisexual folks who would approach me after performances and share their story with me.

2/?

— bisexual couch guy brian (@braino_drano) June 29, 2021

Carbone, the designer, said of the seats she designed, which also include a non-binary and a genderfluid loveseat: "Being a part of this project was exciting because it was an opportunity to celebrate queerness and community.

"In a global pandemic that disproportionately affects QTPOC, we need these moments of joy and connection to push us through adversity."

Claudia Mayne, Director, Marketing Communications at Ikea Canada, said of the seats in a press release: "Each Love Seat was designed in collaboration with a community member and inspired by the colors and personal meaning of the corresponding flag.

"Each designer had the freedom to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

"This partnership is our way of helping artists in different communities express themselves on a large platform in a way that's been tricky during COVID-19."

Newsweek has approached Ikea Canada for comment.