Manning is a hero, make her sentence zero

Sentenced to thirty-five years in prison for leaking information that exposed US imperialist wars and vastly contributed towards the Tunisian people’s movement against their violent dictator, the world watched as Chelsea Manning came out as a trans woman, was refused physical transition in prison, and suffered multiple suicide attempts as a result of the harrowing experience of being a trans woman unjustly imprisoned. We protested, screamed her name at Pride marches and wrote countless letters of solidarity to her.

 

This week, just three days before the end of his presidency, President Obama commuted Chelsea’s sentence. Instead of finishing the brutal sentence originally imposed, Chelsea now has only five more months to go before she is released and can recover from the trauma she has endured in prison, both the damage of the prison industrial complex itself and the withholding of her agency to hormonally transition. Although there’s much cheering and flag waving for Obama’s intervention, it’s important to remember that it was his administration that put her there in the first place.  Our cheers, love and thanks should be pointed toward the people that fought for Chelsea’s rights and pressured Obama to commute. They are the ones who protested, they are the ones invoking her name at Pride, they are the ones that remembered her. Celebrate those that signed petitions, sent her money, shared her articles and tweets and never forgot her when denouncing the structures that put her away.

 

Whilst her new found freedom is certainly a victory, we must not forget those whose sentences have not been commuted, those who have yet to endured years in prison for simply existing – particularly trans women of colour and sex workers, who are often awarded long and cruel sentences. We must not forget that they are often placed in male prisons, assaulted by the men they are forced to live with, ridiculed by the guards and like Chelsea Manning, denied their autonomy and their right to safely physically transition. We must remember those who do not have people fighting directly for their right to live, and all those incarcerated in the prison industrial complex.

 

We at Free Pride shout solidarity with Chelsea Manning, and celebrate her freedom.  Whilst it’s exciting to envision the potentials that lie ahead in her public advocacy of trans rights and critique of the prison system, we have to remember not to make her our poster child; after enduring the horror of the last few years, most of all, we want her to live her life, heal, and be free.

 

Words by Oli and Isobel

Bi Furious in a Gay World: Part II

emma looking badass

In the second part of our Bi Week series, we look deeper into exclusion and ways in which LGBTQIA+ communities can improve bi/pan inclusivity.

Some are less welcome than others

Other than problems that come with perceived straightness, outlined in Part I, bi/pan people may feel that when biphobia in queer spaces is not explicit, they still feel less welcome than others. Bisexual identities are easier to ignore. If we mistakenly assume that being bi is the same as being half-gay and half-straight, without its own separate nuances, there will be no effort made to distinguish bi issues from gay and lesbian issues.

Nine, who identifies as queer first and bi second, says that she often feels excluded by careless language:

“Sometimes people and spaces just use the terminology of ‘gay’ rather than ‘queer’ or ‘LGBT+’; sometimes they do use ‘LGBT+’ terminology but then talk as if it’s just a synonym for ‘gay’. On the other hand, ‘queer’ usually denotes a space I find welcoming, and the more letters attached to ‘LGBT’, the more thought I feel like the organisers have put into it, so I’m cautiously hopeful that those spaces will be genuinely bi/pan-inclusive.”

Charlotte wants to see trans-inclusive language used in bi/pan discourse:

“Bi/pan must be inclusive of non-binary people. If I date a non-binary person, calling them my girlfriend or boyfriend erases their identity. As a bi/pan woman I don’t like my sexuality to be defined by the gender of my partner.”

She also picks up on the different reactions that masculine and feminine people receive on account of their sexuality:

“It is perceived that a bi/pan woman is ‘experimental’ and will eventually settle into a relationship with a man.  Meanwhile a bi/pan man is perceived as just being gay and ‘softening the blow’ before settling into a relationship with a man.”

Lewis says that he changes his own language and identifiers depending on the context he is in:

“A lot of the time I don’t bother telling people I’m pan, I just say I’m gay because it’s easier… Sometimes because people don’t know what pan is, I say I’m bi. Other LGBTQIA+ people have seemed interested in it. Many have said they can’t really comprehend what it would be like to be attracted to more than one gender, that it seems strange, etc. None of it was malicious and I didn’t find it particularly hurtful, but others might.”

On reflection, the fact I’ve not faced much direct biphobia myself in queer spaces could be partly because I tone down that part of myself and sometimes apologise for it, playing down my attraction to men by making ‘misandrist’ jokes and hoping my queer aesthetic stops people from questioning me.

Nine reflects on her varying level of involvement with LGBTQIA+ community over the last two decades, and how she became less engaged when in mixed-gender relationships:

“I’d be welcome up until my relationship entered the conversation, and then I’d feel, sometimes, almost like I had to apologise. It felt like I could see people recalculating me, as if I had presented an inaccurate version of myself just by showing up in a gay bar or whatever. On numerous occasions I’ve found that I’ve been assumed to be gay whenever I’ve been in a LGBT+ space, and then when a boyfriend gets mentioned, my queer credentials suddenly get questioned.”

The intersection of biphobia with domestic abuse exacerbated this problem for her:

“When I was in an abusive relationship with a straight man, my sexuality was a problem for him and it frequently came up in fights… I wish we could discuss these kinds of things in LGBT+ spaces instead of feeling like we shouldn’t talk about our mixed-gender relationships.”

Working towards harmony

Most interviewees agreed that they would prefer to see more bi/pan recognition integrated into LGBTQIA+ culture, although some also expressed interest in bi-specific groups and events.

One bi woman spoke about her need for engagement with queer spaces even when she is in a relationship with a man:

“I do often feel the need to have spaces where I can express my sexuality where an understanding of queerness will be present and occasionally feel quite lonely as a bisexual, aware that despite the wonderful allies I have in my life, I lack a community. Although most of my straight friends are cool, there is still dumb biphobia I get from them sometimes and it would be nice to have a space where I could occasionally opt out of that.”

Holly, a bi woman married to a man who writes for publications including Biscuit and the Queerness, sees the value of both separate bi groups and better integration:

“I have certainly benefited from a bi-specific group, Biphoria in Manchester. When I moved here and didn’t know anyone, it helped me make friends, it helped me come out to myself much less anyone else, and it’s provided me with a lot of really valuable experiences and opportunities.

“But at the same time, I don’t want bi+ people to feel any more isolated than we already do in LGBTQIA+ spaces. I don’t want them to think they can get away with ostracising us, either. So I do think there should be bi-specific safer-spaces because they’re clearly useful and needed. But I don’t think this should be to the detriment of enlightening the wider LGBTQIA+ scene about us. We still deserve inclusion and participation in that too.”

Lewis feels that visual representations of queerness are not diverse enough:

“I think the use of imagery in LGBTQIA+ spaces could be less focused around attraction to the same sex. A lot of imagery used is two guys or girls holding hands or kissing. You don’t tend to see different-gender couples in LGBTQIA+ imagery.”

We have miles to go before everyone feels comfortable in queer spaces. Free Pride wants to make participation in the local LGBTQIA+ community possible for all. If you have any feedback or suggestions for bi/pan inclusivity, or want to get involved in organising, email freeprideglasgow@outlook.com.

If you want to celebrate Bi Visibility Day with Free Pride in Glasgow, come to the Art School on Thursday 22nd from 11pm – pay-what-you-can on the door! More info here. Edinburgh folks can head to Teviot on Friday for another Bi Furious event!

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A few resources

Jacq Applebee’s comic about biphobia and racism at Pride

Holly Matthies on passing and mental health

Understanding sexual violence against bisexual women

‘Complicated? Bisexual people’s experiences of and ideas for improving services’: Report by the Equality Network

 

Words by Ellen MacAskill

Bi Furious in a Gay World: Part I

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Discussions of biphobia often hinge on the fact that people on the bi/pan spectrum experience double-exclusion – both from the heteronormative world and from the gay and lesbian-focussed LGBTQIA+ world. As these two sets of cultural standards exist on different plains, those who find themselves straddling both worlds because of their orientation face a double challenge.

Rejection from LGBTQIA+ spaces is painful for bi/pan people because although these spaces claim to be inclusive, biphobia can be perpetuated within them. The first part of our Bi Week series will consider how this affects bi/pan participation in LGBTQIA+ communities.

*A note on terminology: This post will not discuss definitions of non-monosexual identifiers (including bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, and queer), but use ‘bi’ or ‘bi/pan’ frequently to describe those attracted to multiple genders, for the sake of shortness. Similarly, ‘queer’ will sometimes be used to refer to everything under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. For specific definitions, click here.

The spectre of straightness

Interviewing bi/pan people, I first asked whether or not they have ever felt excluded from an LGBTQIA+ space because of their orientation, and most had incidents and anger to share.

The common theme emerged of biphobia in queer spaces as a reaction to perceived straightness. People can be perceived as straight because of their gender expression and sense of style, because of the partner they are with or their romantic and sexual history, or because they don’t explicitly and repeatedly name their queerness (this erasure can happen to anyone on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum). They are then treated with suspicion by people in the community.

One bisexual woman who has a long-term male partner says:

“I sometimes feel like I’m not gay enough, ostentatiously queer or butch enough, angry enough to be part of these spaces… I’ve found some LGBTQIA+ and particularly LGBTQIA+ adjacent spaces (e.g. feminist spaces, human rights-y spaces, PFLAG type groups) safe and welcoming but have found myself pretty much disengaging from LGBTQIA+ exclusive spaces due to how uncomfortable I feel in them.”

Amy, who identifies as bi and pan interchangeably, describes a disenchanting experience she had at a popular gay bar in Glasgow:

“I was talking to two girls outside, and told them I was bisexual.  Straight away they told me I was ‘definitely straight’ and that if I wanted to fit in more in the club I would have to ‘look more like a lesbian’.”

One bi man struggles with the assumptions made about him and his long-term girlfriend at certain queer events:

“The thing that bothered me most about hearing [biphobic] things at events is that I would end up not feeling comfortable going with my girlfriend and acting like a couple with her, to the point where we would both avoid holding hands, kissing or flirting with each other so that we could prevent looking like a straight couple who had invaded this space dedicated to people JUST LIKE US. More often than not, we will just avoid these mainstream events all together because we can’t be bothered with the hassle of worrying what people are thinking. Why wouldn’t I want to go and enjoy these spaces with my girlfriend when we are both bisexual?”

Being seen with a different-gender partner is not the only way bi identities can be erased. Charlotte finds that having her trans identity recognised comes at the cost of her bi identity:

“I am trans so I think the common assumption is that I am accessing the space for that reason.  There seems to be a perception that each person is just one of the “letters” when in fact we can be several.”

bi complicated

Passing as a privilege?

The fact that passing as straight can be a type of privilege arises as a matter of contention in bisexual discourse. The argument goes that bi people in mixed-gender relationships may not experience the fear of backlash that they do in same-gender relationships because their sexuality is inconspicuous and possibly unspoken. However this attitude assumes that bisexuals solely benefit from passing, when often the erasure of their queerness is detrimental to their sense of identity, relationships, and mental health.

One bi woman describes how much effort it takes to assert her bi identity when the world assumes she is straight:

“I find myself becoming accidentally closeted again and that’s really uncomfortable, and when I out myself some people don’t seem to get why it’s important to me because I ‘have a man’. My boss the other day said something about ‘the LGBT agenda’ to me, assuming I was straight – do I have that conversation in that moment, or in a few weeks’ time? If I wait, will he feel I misled him because I disclosed my romantic relationship status but not my sexuality? They know my boyfriend – will they ask him inappropriate questions because of my sexuality?”

My own experience of passing is mixed as a bi woman who is occasionally perceived as male. When your gender is ambiguous to others, the notion of passing as straight loses all logic. The absurdity of other people’s perceptions was highlighted for me when I was in public with a male partner and someone yelled ‘gayboys!’ from a passing car. Even mixed gender relationships can’t always help us avoid discrimination.

Rob articulates the problem with judging sexuality based on appearances:

“I think this [idea of straight-passing privilege] presupposes that any one in a heterosexual relationship will ‘pass’ purely because they are in said relationship, however I feel that in many cases as a less traditionally masculine cis man I would struggle to pass if at any point separated from my hypothetical partner solely because of the shallow stereotypes people tend to use to identify queer people from outward appearance.”

Seb agrees that it’s unhelpful to put weight on appearance alone when discussing the visibility of sexuality:

“While different-gender couples may seem conspicuous in LGBTQIA+ environments for appearing (relatively) straight, the same cannot be said for their appearance on the street or other public spaces, where they may still seem noticeably queer in comparison to the wider public.”

‘Passing’ arguments are often used as a way of silencing complex LGBTQIA+ experiences as opposed to helping people understand their nuanced privileges.

Tomorrow’s post will consider further difficulties faced by bi/pan people and ways in which things could be improved.

Words by Ellen MacAskill

Free Pride Safer Spaces Policy

This document is intended to outline the ethos of Free Pride events so that everyone can enjoy the event and feel safe in the knowledge that inappropriate behaviour will not be permitted.

Free Pride is a group of LGBTQIA+ individuals with a vision to address the commercialisation of mainstream pride, to remind society that pride is a protest and that the opinions of the LGBTQIA+ community are valid and to be heard, and to create a safer space that prioritises the voices of those most marginalised and is accessible to all.

In working to achieve this vision, we recognise the necessity of a safe and positive environment. As such, Free Pride adheres to this Safer Spaces Policy and Code of Conduct. This policy is a work in progress and suggestions for alterations and improvements are welcome.

·         No Homophobia, transphobia, ageism, racism, ableism, sexism, xenophobia or prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender presentation, language ability, HIV status, asylum status or religious affiliation.

·         Respect other people’s spaces both mental and physical- harassment or assault of any kind will not be tolerated.

·         Respect the right to challenge behaviour which makes people feel uncomfortable in the space and do not make others uncomfortable.

·         Do not heckle performers or DJs.

·         Do not make assumptions about anyone’s gender/sexuality.

If you have any issues on the night please contact venue staff, security or organisers and we can work together to resolve the situation.

Q & A: Beth Maiden of Little Red Tarot

Beth Maiden is a tarot reader, writer, and web designer, currently based on the Isle of Skye. She regularly contributes to Autostraddle.com. She will be giving tarot readings on a pay-what-you-can basis at our daytime event, 2 to 7pm, 20th August in the Art School.

beth

What initially drew you to Free Pride as an organisation and event?

I love celebrating with my queer peers, celebrating our resilience, inspiring each other to keep on living and keep on fighting. The queer community is so huge and diverse and Pride is at its roots a political festival – yet I don’t see that reflected in most mainstream parades, which seem mostly about drinking and corporate sponsorship. I recently moved to Scotland and was googling for queer pride alternatives – I was so happy to find Free Pride Glasgow!

What can attendees expect from your pay-what-you-can tarot readings on the day?

I’ll be offering short, three-card tarot readings at Free Pride. Folks can come alone or with a friend and ask what they wish, or let the cards do the talking. I ask each querent (the person asking the question) to hold the cards and shuffle them, then lay out three cards. I’ll explain what I’m seeing in these cards and how their messages and energies are playing out in the querent’s life and situation. Typically, the cards will illustrate a challenge the person is facing and offer a positive route forward, or show resources and sources of strength. Sometimes the cards will bring up something that the querent is avoiding.

The foundation of my tarot practice is the belief that we all have within us the answers we seek and the resources we need – often we are struggling to connect to that deep wisdom, or we’re choosing not to see it, for any number of reasons. My aim is always to provide new perspectives, alternative paths for the querent, though most often, I find that the cards serve to confirm what they already know, deep inside. It’s a warm, encouraging process that can sometimes be a little challenging, too – though when I do these short readings at events, I tend not to go too deep.

Why do you think many LGBTQ+ women and people are attracted to the cultures of tarot, astrology, and witchcraft?

In part, it has to do with history and liminality. Witchy practices like these have always existed on the margins of society. Much like ‘queer’, ‘witch’ is a loaded word with a painful history – to claim this identity is a political act. Historically, to have the label ‘witch’ given to you meant ostracisation and death for huge numbers of women.

Tarot, astrology, ritual, herbalism and DIY healthcare – these are tools for self-empowerment, for self-actualisation, for working through our own shit in our own ways. In a world that tells queer people that they are different, that they are less, that their love is worth less, and that punishes those who want to challenge structures, these liminal tools provide a way to take hold of our own wellbeing and work with our beautiful, messy lives and loves in our own ways.

Queer people and women inherit generations of oppression, pain and misunderstanding, but many are finding ways to connect to ancestral wisdom and energies bigger than the restrictive worlds around us. It is empowering and political to grab hold of these tools and find our own ways to use them – but that’s what queer people do. We look for alternatives, we see what’s growing at the edges, we refuse to conform and we create beautiful community, safety and culture in the places where the mainstream fears to tread. (Until it becomes cool and marketable, that is.)

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What are your experiences of connecting with queer community while living in rural places like the Isle of Skye?

It’s not so hot. I’ve only knowingly met one other queer person since January, though my gaydar has been beeping quietly at a couple of others. When I asked one new friend if they knew of any gay folks nearby, they asked why I can’t just be happy hanging out with normal people. Another person thought I was taking the piss when I expressed excitement when they told me there was a lesbian couple living nearby. Meh.

That’s partly why I value events like Free Pride and will travel such a distance to get there, and run an online business where I can connect with my peers on the regular. If I stay on Skye (unlikely, as it’s so expensive here) then my partner and I will try to start something up. We’re always talking about the queer festival we’d love to organise.

Do you have any other creative projects in the pipeline that you’d like to share with us?

Ah man, I’ve always got a load of creative projects on the go, I’m terrible for starting things and not finishing them. Right now, I’m working with Rowan trees, learning about their mythology. I made myself a magic wand from a rowan branch on the summer solstice this year and am now trying to make a few more for my friends. And experimenting with recipes using their beautiful red berries. I’m also trying to paint them, though I’m not very good! I love how the process of drawing and painting plants makes me look really, really closely and notice their intricate and unique details.

I’m also writing a follow-up to my online tarot course. I actually just booked myself a week in a bothy on the Isle of Eigg so as to hammer it out and get it wrapped up. I prefer to work in obsessive bursts rather than ‘a little every day’.

My partner and I are building our first home – a tiny house on a chassis. She’s a builder and this will be the first major project we’ve done together. It’s exciting!

 

Interview by Ellen MacAskill

 

Q & A: Sex Worker Open University

Free Pride caught up with Luca Stevenson from Sex Worker Open University ahead of their workshop at our daytime event on 20th August.

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What are the main aims of the Sex Worker Open University?

SWOU is a collective of sex workers and allies who are fighting against the criminalisation and stigmatisation of sex work.

What can we expect from the workshop at Free Pride?

The workshop will include a presentation about the needs and demands of sex workers, including LGBTQ sex workers. We hope to repeat the success of last years’ event but include much more info about recent developments for sex workers in Scotland, UK and globally. This will also be a safe(ish!) space for anyone to ask any questions they want. Sex work can be an emotive issue – it is emotive for us anyway – and we hope to create a space where anyone’s questions can be answered. The workshop will be led by current and former sex workers, and whilst we invite any questions, we will also be very clear that our experiences and our demands are not up for debate! People attending will also learn more on how to show active solidarity with the sex workers’ rights movement and the organisations fighting for our rights in Scotland. The workshop might include naked magic tricks but we are still working on them so no promises!

Which organisations, resources or campaigns would you recommend to people interested in learning more about sex worker activism?

There is tons of stuff online. First of all, follow SWOU and other sex workers’ rights orgs on social media. Check our website for some resources like zines on queer/survivor issues. Check SCOT-PEP website for different resources on legal models in Scotland and then both ICRSE (the European Network of Sex Work Projects) and NSWP (the Global Network) who both have loads of resources!

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What do you think are the most important intersections between the fights for LGBTQIA+ liberation and sex worker rights?

The main connection is that many LGBTQ people are sex workers. As simple as that, the LGBT movement should include sex workers and fight for decriminalisation of sex work, because our fight is your fight. I have seen many times the LGBT movement silencing or ignoring sex workers. This is typical of “respectability” politics. “Let’s not talk about prostitution whilst we demand marriage equality”. But what if we reversed that? What if we made the needs of the most marginalised the center of our movement? Many people are selling sex because of poverty or lack of other options. In particular, in many countries, trans women who have very limited options of employment due to transphobia, turn to sex work as one of the only modes of survival. Of the 1,731 documented murders of trans and gender-variant people in the world between 2008-2014, 65 % (of those whose profession was known) were sex workers.

LGBT rights and sex workers rights also intersect in many other ways. In many countries, anti-sex work laws are used against LGBT people and vice versa. You can read more about this here.

Are you hopeful about the progress made in the discourse around decriminalisation in Scotland following the Prostitute Law Reform Bill consultation by Jean Urquhart?

Yes, we are! I don’t think sex work will be decriminalised in the next few months but we are making massive progress. Last year Amnesty International came out in support of decriminalisation and more and more progressive people realise that the pseudo-feminist alternative of criminalising clients is not only ineffective but dangerous. Decriminalisation, for me anyway, is a first step. Whilst we advocate for decriminalisation, we also need to call for better welfare or even look at Universal Basic Income, and fight against transphobia and demand better drug laws, so that people don’t have to turn to sex work out of poverty, lack of options or because of an addiction. But today, we need to support sex workers, whatever their reasons to sell sex. And this means supporting decriminalisation so that sex workers can be protected by the law like any other citizens, and report violence and abuse without fear of being arrested or deported.

 

Interview by Ellen MacAskill

Why Free Pride Matters: Ace at Pride

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Whenever I bring up asexuality when talking to people about the LGBTQ+ community I have to pause and hope that I don’t hear the dreaded ‘But asexuals aren’t really part of the community’. When interacting with other LGBTQ+ people it can be a guessing game because sometimes they’re totally accepting and welcoming but often they don’t actually think that I exist. I get the invalidation of my sexuality often enough from cisgender straight people so it doubly hurts when it comes from someone that’s supposed to be on my side.

My first Pride was last summer, after being out of the closet for about a year. As I was bedecked in rainbows and excitement, I looked through the crowds around me, hoping to find the odd flash of an asexual flag, or a sign that acknowledged more than just lesbians and gays. I saw a lot more of the later than the former, but I although I did see a couple of mentions of asexuality, it was often as an after-though, or as a part of a list of identities, rather than an outright celebration of the identity itself.  Although I felt included in some ways, the lack of anything directly related to me was isolating. I felt like I didn’t properly belong. I know others have had similar experiences when dealing with mainstream Pride, where there feels like a refusal to even try to include anyone that’s not already extremely visible within the community.

The first Free Pride was different, however. I was marginally involved last year, mostly limited to attending a couple of meetings and volunteering on the day, but I was struck with the commitment and care taken by everyone involved to include and promote the voices of those who would not have normally been heard at Pride events. From the inclusion of an asexual and aromantic caucus to the asexuality talk on the day itself, Free Pride proved to me that they cared about asexual people, and was dedicated to making sure that our voices were supported.

The asexuality talk was remarkable to hear. It was a basic introduction to asexuality, so I knew most of the information already, but it was incredible – and a bit surreal – to hear someone actually talk about asexuality as a legitimate sexual orientation outside of the Internet. The room was completely full, with people standing at the back and some having been turned away. When I initially came out to people that I was asexual I was met with skepticism, but at Free Pride not only did people believe that it was a real thing, but they listened to what asexual people had to say, and wanted to understand and learn more.  Free Pride didn’t just talk about being inclusive of everyone; they showed that they were.

The people at Free Pride are a large part of what makes it so important to me. I never had to even worry about mentioning that I am asexual around them, and in fact I’ve met quite a few people on the asexual and aromantic spectrum! The casual acceptance and friendship that everyone at Free Pride brings means that getting involved in the organizational side isn’t a chore, but rather feels more like favours that you want to do for your friends. To be around a group of people who focus on making positive change and celebrating those who are often forgotten is refreshing. It’s a constant joy and a relief to just be comfortable in an environment when you know every single person believes that you are valid and belong. It’s an environment that the people of Free Pride provide and one that I’m incredibly grateful for.

There are plenty of other reasons as to why Free Pride is important to me. The focus on building community, commitment to accessibility and helping people, how just plain fun it in, the list could go on.  But at the end of the day, for me, Free Pride represents a space where I don’t need to second-guess myself as to whether I actually belong there. When you get ignored or excluded from places that are purposefully meant to include everyone, it hurts, even if the intent isn’t malicious. But at Free Pride I see can see myself, and people like me, be included and even celebrated as a valuable part of the LGBTQ+ community. I feel like I am actually listened to, and people want to have me there.

One of the saddest parts about being asexual is the isolation you feel when you are constantly hearing that you shouldn’t exist in the LGBTQ+ community, or that you don’t exist at all. Free Pride takes active steps to include and celebrate marginalized groups in the LGBTQ+ community, including asexuality.  I feel included and wanted when I’m involved in Free Pride, which is an incredibly powerful feeling for me. I want to be a strong, active part of the LGBTQ+ community, and with Free Pride, I can.

– Jo Reid

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