A Personal Note

by Grace Bonney

Over the years, Design*Sponge has grown and changed along with the people reading and writing this site. I’ve felt so fortunate to share in the news of weddings, births, new jobs and businesses, moves and other life events that have taken part in our community. And I am deeply aware that it is both an honor and privilege to share updates of my own here as well. Today I wanted to take a brief moment to share something that is very personal, but very much about the strength and goodness of the people who make up our online community.

Yesterday I turned 32 and had the honor of spending the afternoon with my closest friends (that’s us, above) learning the dance routines to songs by two of my favorite singers, Robyn and Beyonce. As incredible of a birthday surprise it was, after I came home I was overcome with an even greater feeling of love and appreciation. My friends have stood by me through some truly turbulent times and I feel endlessly grateful to have people in my life who not only understand and accept me for who I am, but love me for it. That feeling is so special and meaningful to me because it is one I haven’t felt, or allowed myself to feel, for a long time.

Two years ago I went through the process of coming out to my friends and family. It was, at times, painful and scary. Coming out is different for every person, but for me, it was very much about learning to slowly accept and then love myself just the way I am. Despite my worst fears of losing the people I loved most, I have been incredibly fortunate to find the support of not just my friends and family, but members of the design community as well. In my heart of hearts, I never expected to hear from people I’d never met, offering words of support, guidance and love. But it was those words and that support that got me to where I am today.

Since the first day I started this site, I’ve done my best to be as open and honest myself as I can. But for a long time I’ve struggled with holding a part of myself back. And that’s made me feel disconnected and not as close to the community of people I love and admire as I would like. So today I wanted to take a moment to proudly share with you the full story of who I am. I’m the daughter of loving parents, Chris and Elaine, I’m a blogger, a Southerner, a hopeless lover of animals, patterns and anything shiny- and I’m also gay. That fact may make no difference to some of you reading, but being able to be 100% myself here means the world to me. This website is my home. And the people who write and read here are my family. And I want to be as close and connected to my family as I can. Thank you for being an incredible community of people who make me feel safe and supported enough to be myself. Love, Grace

Suggested For You


  • Dear Grace, the first thing I thought of when I read your post was the strong example you are showing to others, especially young people, that it’s okay to be who you are. Every time someone like you courageously comes out publicly is one more blow to the prejudice and hatred around us. And one day there will no longer be teenagers who commit suicide because of that.

    Forty plus years ago when I came out, lesbians and gay men married each other so they wouldn’t lose their jobs or get thrown in jail or get beat up. Today is vastly different, but the fear in coming out is still there. Good for you—and what a wonderful birthday present you have given yourself.

  • A brave and beautifully expressed post. I feel half-inclined to write ‘you go girl!’, but that would be weird, right? Yeah, I thought so.

    Happy Birthday!

  • I have been a reader here for a long, long time. This moving and gracious personal post is a great pretext to post a first comment.

    Many things I see on this site inspire me and touch me deeply, some even change my life in very real ways—but none have moved me to tears until now. Thank you, Grace, for creating this entertaining, educational and energizing network of people and ideas—and for keeping it so personal and intimate despite the odds. It’s a real privilege to be getting to know you.

  • Happy birthday, Grace! Your site was one of the first I followed when I got into design, and the one that inspired me to start blogging my own projects. I’m so happy to hear that your journey to love and accept yourself has come to this point, and I commend you for telling your story so publicly. You and the entire D*S team are an inspiration. Thanks for being so awesome!

  • You are loved and so brave. Gay, straight, polka dotted, purple….you are who you are and you are appreciated. Happy late Birthday to you! Hope that this post lifted some weight from you. As a reader I am only more encouraged to read DS knowing the authenticity and courage of the person behind it all. Some friends and I met you in Denver at a signing and thought/still think you were/are just the sweetest. Keep being your most beautiful self. xo

  • Go Grace! Thank you so much for sharing. I don’t know you, but I’m excited for you. Keep it up; we’re all together on our separate journeys, like boats in a fleet. Cast a rope across the water and another boat will catch it. Looks like there’s a lot of us pulling with you on this one!

    Best, Roxanne

  • Grace – I commend you for making this huge and important step, sounds like it wasn’t easy, but you did it anyway!! And isn’t life amazingly colourful and warm, once you step into your own skin and realise you’re still you and your friends still love you? Best step I ever took anyway… :D

  • Love to you, Grace!

    D*S is one of the best things on the internet. You are amazing and such an inspiration.

    It’s a privilege to learn more about you, and your openness makes me love you even more.

    Wishing you all the best!


  • Happy belated birthday, Grace, and wishing ever so many blessings to you as you continue to express your true self surrounded by ever so many supportive and loving souls. <3

  • The happiest of happy birthdays to you! I think the best part about growing older (besides people telling you “Get out! I thought you were in your 20s!” is that you know more who you are. I am happy for you that you are comfortable enough in who you are to let us, your devoted readers, in on a personal area of your life. While it is no one’s business but your own, I (and I am sure that many readers) appreciate you sharing these insights into your life with us. You are the reason we all started reading this blog, and have come to see you as an “internet friend” and I couldn’t be happier for any real-life friend who made the same revelation and I hope that you are met with all the acceptance and love that you deserve. Oh, and I am totally jealous of that dance class – I may have to boogie to “Dancing On My Own” in my living room

  • I know I am comment #600&somethin’ but I wanted to share how happy I am to hear how happy you are! I saw you speak at altNYC and you were absolutely fabulous. Not only was your speech flawless you radiated with confidence and happiness to be able to share what you love, your blog and the things you have learned along the way. Thanks for sharing such a personal story with us and for speaking at alt! You were one of my favorites.

    p.s. I hope your pup liked the carrot toy from Iowa ;)

  • We love you, not in spite of who you are, but because of who you are. Thank you for your bravery, honestly, and the passions that you share with us every day.

  • I have been reading your site for years and have really enjoyed ‘After the Jump’ over the past year, but somehow I missed this post last month. I’m so glad I stumbled across it now.

    First off, a belated happy birthday. It sounds like it was a fun one.

    Secondly, well done for being so generous in sharing your experiences with so many and for being proud of who you are. This post is just another example of your beautiful talent for being open and honest. I think your willingness to share lends others the courage to do the same. Thank you.

  • You and Design Sponge are a constant source of inspiration and joy on a near daily basis. I admire you for so many reasons and now for the courage to fully embrace your uniqueness and share that with your DS family. Thank you… and happy birthday!

  • Grace, you have done so much to inspire me to live a good and happy life. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Hugs…. all the way from Manila.

  • Dear Grace thank you for your honesty, you are one of the first bloggers I followed, you are an inspiration to so many people, I wish you all the best.

    Love from Puerto Rico

  • Grace, I cannot express how much this post means to me. It really meant so much to me! I have read your blog for years and have always felt like kindred spirits. This just makes it even more clear… From one southern gay woman to another… Thank you for being true to yourself and inspiring the world with your extraordinary talent,

  • Totally missed this post. I’m very happy to hear you’re on your way again though! Must have been awkward at least, to come out later in life. Here’s to never feel awkward again in big matters! Honesty to yourself is so important and it’s nevertheless so hard to be objective about anything when it comes to oneself. D*S is the best and it can only have been made by someone special. Is that cheesy? whatevs!

  • As a long-time reader and lover of your blog, I can’t believe I’m so late to the party! Thank you for sharing all that you do on this blog, including this personal story. Kudos to you for living in the light, and sharing your passions and strength and love and blood, sweat, and tears with those you love and all of us out here in the virtual world. And as a member of the community as well, I thank you for doing all of this beautifully and honestly. We are stronger because of people like you, AND our families, AND our allies, for speaking up and saying our truth. Of course that’s not possible for everyone, but I do believe it helps make it easier for them as well. Big old hugs to you, keep smiling, and carry on. :)

  • Grace! I have been following you for very long and I missed this! All my love and hugs. This is so brave, and I know your example will hep so many young women and men. You are a star. Loads of love!

  • Grace, I only found this post today, and I’m so glad I did. Please never take it down. You continue to be so inspiring, a force to be reckoned with. Wishing you every happiness.

  • I agree with every positive thing that is written above, and too want to thank you for being so brave and being such an inspiration.
    Thank you!

  • Thanks for sharing this! I only found this post after listening to the Design Matters interview. Someone mentioned that your coming out is a model for young women and men. I agree, however, you’re a model for middle-aged and old women and men too! ; )

    • Thanks, HK.

      I don’t know about being a model for anything, but I’m so glad if anyone can find any form of help in my coming out publicly (or anyone else!) :)


  • Hi Grace,

    I just watched a video of your interview on MarieTV (from 2015?). I felt you were really authentic and you really love your life and your work. It was inspiring for me – someone who’s still looking for her true calling in life. Congrats on coming out! I’m still looking for courage to do the same and finally be myself. Wishing you happiness and good health from Singapore! :)

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