Edition 001

Welcome to our blog!

First off, Welcome to the very first edition of the new and exciting Abergavenny Pride Blog. We are hoping to keep you all informed of the goings on behind the scenes, some important topical educational pieces, and some light-hearted entertainment on segments such as Meet the team and Book of the month.

We are very new to the world of blogging (even though this feels like an ancient art now – the first blog was way back in 1994 – even though the word “blog” was only coined in 1999!!) but we very much want to deliver something that you want, so feel free to get in touch and let us know your thoughts.

Secondly, now that we have recovered from the biggest day in the calendar year, let’s have a lil recap of a few of the successes (and there were many) of Abergavenny Pride 2023! The response from all of you on our third pride event was absolutely mind blowing to us. It was a lot of firsts for us – the first Abergavenny Pride Parade. This was so successful that we had over 200 people join us, and the parade was almost as long as the high street!!! These numbers far exceeded our expectations of the first time we were doing this – as far as, when we submitted the form to the council etc, we estimated 30-50 people would join us and oh! were we wrong!!!

We also installed the very first Rainbow Crossing in Abergavenny!! After weeks and weeks of planning, paperwork, discussions and decisions, the Friday before Pride we got our tools and our Hi-Viz jackets (very Village People) and met up outside the market and everything got really real, really quick. There were so many factors we didn’t consider like fencing until it dried, almost running out of paint and covering our shoes so they didn’t get ruined – but after everything it was more than worth it and boy did she shine and added a much-needed dose of queer colour and vibrancy across our little town.

By far the biggest success for us as a team, was the introduction of our “Out Of The Closet” space. Our team worked closely with schools and youth groups across the area, and quickly discovered there was a lack of safe spaces for anyone to explore their own gender identity. We realised that this is an issue not just in Abergavenny but in nearly all places across the UK and felt that we were able to make a big difference to people’s lives with just a small act, so set to work to make this happen. We set up clothes rails bursting with donations, two small changing areas, and gave everyone the opportunity to be their most genuine selves AND take everything home with them for free!

Again, most of the success comes from those who took the time to donate their clothes, shoes, accessories etc, and we believe we are the first Pride event to ever do this – so we are making History!!

Thirdly, we would like to thank every single person who helped make the event the success that it was. The volunteers, donors, stall holders, sponsors, charities, food and drink vendors, performers, talkers, hosts, attendees, and everyone else in between!! We thank you for everything!!!

And lastly, I promise this will be much shorter next time, if you follow our socials, you will see that we have been squirrelling away in the background and made a start on getting next year’s pride organised and in the calendars. If you haven’t seen it, our 4th Pride event will be held on Saturday 29th June 2024!!! Mark it in your diaries and keep a look out for more exciting news and announcements on our socials!! Make sure to follow us!!

Image from British Library

A Moment of History

In this section we will talk through a moment or person from queer history. You have probably guessed that I’ve focussed on a lot of firsts for the first edition of the blog and this part will be no difference, and it seems only fitting we talk about London’s First Pride.

In the years following the partial decriminalisation of gay sex in 1967, London was alive with possibilities, but despite legal changes, life for some became even more oppressive. The police and British Government actively enforced this change of law by holding stakeouts in parks and toilets, using “pretty police” as bait for gay men to commit sex offences and raiding gay saunas become the norm. Activist Peter Thatchell wrote in an article for the Guardian that in 1966, 420 men were convicted of gross indecency but by 1974 the number rose to 1,711 convictions.

In 1970, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) formed in the basement of the London School of Economics and in November of that year the first gay rights rally took place when 150 activists gathered in Highbury Fields. In 1971, the GLF staged an action disrupting a nationwide Festival of Light Christian campaign, fronted by Cliff Richard and Mary Whitehouse, to protest changing values. Protesters blew whistles, unveiled banners (sound vaguely familiar?) and at one point turned off the lights. One branch of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, which had helped facilitate the 1967 law change, evolved into the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and became one of the first significant gay rights organisations in the UK, alongside the GLF.

On 1st July 1972, the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots – the UK’s first official gay pride event took place, where around 700 people marched from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park, ending up with a picnic in the park (the reason many prides still hold picnics before or after their Pride events in tradition with the very first Pride Event in the UK). It was heavily policed and got mixed reviews from members of the public.

The march signalled a tentative new optimism and openness to LGBTQ life; the first gay newspaper, Gay News, was launched the same year; in 1973 the gay helpline, Icebreakers, opened; and in 1974 the first TV/TS (Transvestite/Transexual) Conference was held in Leeds. Gay establishments on the UK can be traced back to the 1500’s, through the molly houses of the 1800’s to the 1940’s “gentlemen” clubs, but a boom was seen following the pride event.


Key Progress

1970     First Christopher Street Liberation Day March, New York City

1971     Society Five, LGBTQ right group formed, Melbourne

1972     Norway normalises same sex sexual activity

Sweden allows people to legally change their gender

The Quakers Committee of friends issues the important “Ithaca Statement” on bisexuality

1973     Malta decriminalises homosexuality

West Germany reduces age of consent to 18 for gay people (14 for heterosexuals)

Australia and USA declassify homosexuality as an illness

1974     The Brunswick Four are arrested in Canada, rousing the LGBTQ community into action

1975     Norway decriminalises homosexuality

California & South Australia legalise homosexuality

The American Christian Cause is formed to oppose the “gay agenda”

Melbourne hosts Australia’s first National Homosexual Conference

1976     Australia forms Homosexual Law Reform Coalition

Australian Capital Territory decriminalises Homosexuality for consenting adults

1977     Croatia, Montenegro & Slovenia decriminalise same sex sexual activity

Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

1978     American artist Gilbert Baker designs the rainbow flag as a symbol of LGBTQ Pride

Transnational International Lesbian & Gay Association founded

1979     The first national march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights takes place

Members of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) protest the classification of homosexuality as an illness by “phoning in sick with homosexuality’, resulting in the National Board of Health & Welfare removing the classification

Fly That Flag

Each month, we will fiercely fly a flag and aim to educate and empower each of you with what each flag means, how it was created and help you make a choice that best suits your queerniqueness!

This month is the Rainbow or Traditional Flag! This flag was first used in San Francisco in 1978 but eventually became the common flag for LGBT social movements across the globe, previously the pink triangle was used, despite representing a dark chapter in the history of homosexuality. Originally designed by artists Gilbert Baker, Lynn Segerblom and James McNamara amongst others, at the request of Harvey Milk, the first design had 8 bands of colours but after many revisions the one most widely used now, is of 6 colour bands with each band having a significant meaning assigned to it Red (Life), Orange (Healing), Yellow (Sunlight), Green (Nature), Blue (Serenity) and Purple (Spirit). Although a 9-band version was created in 2017 with Turquoise (Magic), Pink (Sex) – these 2 were part of the original 8 but later removed because of the availability of the dyes required – and Lilac (Diversity) as the additional colours.

The 6 banded rainbow flag is recognised internationally and is almost always used for everything pride related. Although this variation is universally accepted and used, it does come with mixed reviews. Some say that this doesn’t accurately reflect the whole queer community (exclusion of people of colour, trans and intersex) and others say that the Rainbow Flag was designed as symbol of unity and that it was created without any discrimination in mind.

The Pride List

Book Buys

There are many places in the world where book banning is a regular occurrence even in 2023!! It seems that many people claim free speech as the only entitlement we have as individuals until our ideal doesn’t meet their expectations, and then do everything in their power to take it away! We all know representation is vital for the wellbeing of young people exploring their sexual orientation and gender identity, but also helps all people of any age understand difference, and books or TV are really the only private outlets to do so.

So, we are going to fight this in our very own small way and celebrate those queer writers, queer stories and queer education and give our top picks each month.


Neon Roses by Rachel Dawson

It would be wrong of us to start our first edition and not include Rachel Dawson’s “Neon Roses”. Rachel, her wife, and baby attended this year’s Pride and was even kind enough to donate a signed copy of her book for our raffle, and signed copies of her book for people to purchase from one of our stallholders.

Neon Roses is a realistic, queer love story and a vibrant portrait of a turbulent era which starts in 1984’s South Wales at the height of the miners’ strike. Eluned is tired of her boyfriend, her job, her life and having fun is a thing of the past when every bit of money is needed to support the family. Then there is the sister’s betrayal of sleeping with the enemy, and the flaunting of wealth by wining and dining a policeman. When LGSM (Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners) come to their village, her surprise affections for one of the group surprises her and therein lies the story of Neon Roses and the future of Eluned.

An emotional and vivid telling of a story, nearly everyone knows – ranging throughout the whole of the 80s, across rural Wales and the big cities of London, Manchester and Cardiff, Neon Roses is a gloriously queer coming-of-age story about finding yourself over and over again.

And if you are a fan of 80’s music or want to get the authentic feel the book gives there is also an incredible soundtrack that is featured heavily throughout – someone has already made a Spotify playlist, so you don’t have to!!


The A-Z of Gender & Sexuality by Morgan Lev & Edward Holleb

As this is our first edition, I thought it would be great to have a universal educational book, one which covers all aspects of the queer world.

This is an A-Z glossary of trans and queer words and phrases that explains specific terminology and contextualises terms with transgender history. By dispelling myths about “correct” language, this guide will serve you as an accessible introduction to more informed conversations around gender & sexuality. Having correct and accurate terminology to describe yourself can be empowering!

Family Read

Tales from Beyond the Rainbow by Jordi Wood

This compendium of queer fairy tales is a must-read for every book lover. Author Pete Jordi Wood has scoured history to find 10 forgotten tales that celebrate LGBTQ+ characters. From the story of the transgender market girl who becomes queen, to the young vizier determined to look out for his best friend and the love of his life, each tale is accompanied by illustrations from an artist who shares a heritage with the culture from which the story was born. These are the fairy tales that history forgot – or concealed. Tales in which gender is fluid and where queer stories can have a happy ending.

From Europe to Asia via the African savannah, LGBTQ+ folklore researcher Pete Jordi Wood has combed through generations of history and adapted ten unforgettable stories, each illustrated by an artist who shares heritage with the culture from which the stories were born.

You can pick up your copy of this month’s books from your local Book:ish store in Abergavenny or Crickhowell or online here:

NEON ROSES – https://www.book-ish.co.uk/product/9781399801928/

The A-Z of Gender & Sexuality – https://www.book-ish.co.uk//product/9781785923425/

If these are unavailable at Book:ish, then you can find them online at https://www.queerlit.co.uk/


Each month we will share a recommendation from one of us at Abergavenny Pride, be it music, audiobook or a podcast – basically anything that you can use your headphones for.

podDIVA by DIVA Media Group Ltd

This month we are sharing a Podcast featuring our very own Main Stage Host – Vicki Blight. Vicki is a local presenter, producer and voice artist and has presented shows on Heart 106, Absolute radio, BBC Radio 1 and currently BBC Radio Wales. The podcast is podDIVA by DIVA Media Group Ltd. If you’re an LGBTQIA+ woman or non-binary person, this is your weekly podcast. In association with DIVA magazine: the world’s leading brand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual plus women & non-binary people. Bringing you weekly interviews, magazine chat and plenty of queer joy! One gorgeous glossy in your ear. Hosted by L Word actress Rachel Shelley (aka Helena Peabody).

Vicki was featured as part of the exclusive beyond borders feature for the Debrief: June 2023 episode. The episode focusses on Amber Whittington from Ambers Closet, Pride in the city and rural areas and your very first pride. Vicki’s section is about 23 minutes in, and you will find a small interview about our very own Abergavenny Pride with Pride founders Kate & Elaine!

Astonishing Artists

Frankie Wesson

We love all types of art here at Abergavenny Pride, whether it be music, poetry, paintings and everything else in between and I’m sure that’s the same for everyone. There’s always something for every mood and occasion so we are going to sing from the rooftops about queer artists and put them on stage, just for you. This month we have the incredible Frankie Wesson, not only is she an Abergavenny Pride committee member but also a very talented singer, songwriter and musician.

Brief intro

Hi everyone! My name is Frankie Wesson (she/her) and I’m a bisexual singer-songwriter and musician from Abergavenny.

How long have you been making music, and what is your favourite part of the process?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was a kid and started writing/recording my own music and performing publicly at 16.

I’ve got a few favourite parts of creating music. The first is probably when I’m writing the song and I’ve got enough of an idea together to record it on my phone, I’ll go away and listen to it back on repeat and hear new lyrics/melodies/what the next part of the puzzle is. I’ll chip away at it section by section until I’ve got a fully structured song. One of my other favourite parts is writing and recording my vocal parts and harmonies. It’s so fun and satisfying to build harmonies together in different ways to really fill out a line or section of a song.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Definitely MUNA, Deaf Havana, Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks and Paramore. Lyrics are always the thing that hits me first with a song and all of the above are amazing lyricists on top of everything else they do but I definitely take inspiration from their vocal performances and general sound too.

Do you feel there is enough representation of LGBTQIA+ artists in your local scene? If not, how would you like to see things change?

I think it’s definitely getting better, especially with more, smaller local prides popping up every year providing platforms for LGBTQIA+ artists to perform live and showcase their abilities to an audience where you know you have experiences in common. In general though I think there could definitely be more help and guidance for young queer musicians, to get them to a place where they are ready to perform at that level. I think it would be cool to see all festivals and venues actively seeking out queer/female/trans and non-binary performers to include on their line ups and at events.

I do believe that if you’re confident, good at what you do, self-determined and work hard, you can break into wider spaces where you’re not currently seeing artists like yourself represented. The great thing about music is it is able to break barriers in that way and connect you to people you never thought you’d relate to because the feelings and emotional connections are often universal.

Where can we follow you and listen to your music? And do you have any new releases or upcoming gigs you’d like to share with us?

I’m on Facebook at Frankie Wesson Music. Instagram, YouTube and TikTok at Frankie Wesson. My latest single ‘Just Friends’ (which is about unrequited feelings for a straight best friend) is out everywhere now as well as a music video on YouTube. Me and my band will be playing at Down On The Farm Festival in Herefordshire on August 13th and Pride in the Port on September 2nd.

Popcorn Picks

Who doesn’t love a cosy night in with a blanket, or a trip to the cinema both filled with the best snacks of your choice and a few hours of escapism from your everyday life? Here we will bring you a selection of worthy watches with queer storylines for whatever are your viewing pleasures.


Heartstopper (Netflix)

Heartstopper is a British coming of age romantic comedy drama series on Netflix. It was created by Alice Oseman and based on her graphic novel of the same name. The series primarily tells the story of Charlie Spring, a gay schoolboy who falls in love with Nick Nelson, whom he sits next to in his new form, and the lives of Charlie’s friends Tao, Elle, Tara and Darcy.

The first season of Heartstopper was released on 22 April 2022. It received critical acclaim, particularly for its tone and pacing, as well as its portrayal of LGBT people, and the first season received nine nominations and five wins for the inaugural ceremony of the Children’s and Family Emmy Awards. It gained instant popularity, being among the top 10 English series on Netflix in just two days. It also increased the popularity of the graphic novels as well as the songs featured in the series. The second season is scheduled for release on 3 August 2023, and a third season is currently in development.


Red, White & Royal Blue (Amazon Prime Video)

Red, White & Royal Blue is an upcoming American romantic comedy film directed by Matthew Lopez, who co-wrote it with Ted Malawer.

It is based on the 2019 novel of the same name by Casey McQuiston. Alex Claremont-Diaz is the son of Ellen Claremont, the first female President of the United States, who is running for re-election in 2020. Alex, alongside his sister June and their friend Nora (granddaughter of the Vice President) attend a royal wedding. He has always despised the younger brother of the groom, Prince Henry, and after a confrontation at the wedding, the two end up in a physical altercation which culminates in both falling into and destroying the wedding cake.

The incident is photographed and highly publicised with both parties forcing Alex and Henry to pretend to be friends with each other to prevent it from becoming a full-blown diplomatic and media crisis that would distract from Alex’s mother’s election bid. While the effort is initially to control the damage, during the diplomatic visit, the two boys become friends, apologise to each other and exchange numbers. The two become close over time and Henry is later invited to an annual New Year’s Eve party where Henry kisses Alex. Henry comes out as gay and Alex realizes he is bisexual. The two begin a secret “friends with benefits” relationship and begin writing flirtatious emails while simultaneously building a close bond with each other. Alex eventually begins to develop feelings for Henry.

Red, White & Royal Blue is due to be released on Amazon Prime Video on August 11, 2023.

Meet The Team Member

Back to Abergavenny Pride now and each month we will introduce you to a member of the team of volunteers that put on this incredible event. We have come up with 10 quick fire questions to help you get to know them a bit better.

Name:              Aaron Flowers

Pronouns:       He/Him

Identity:           Queer/Gay Cis Man

Why did you volunteer for Abergavenny Pride?

I was looking for something worthwhile to fill my time and use/enhance the skills that I’ve learnt in work whilst giving back to the community. It was this or magistrate/school governor as my other options.

What’s the best/worst thing about volunteering for Abergavenny Pride?

The best thing of course is seeing how happy and the difference we make to each and every single person that attends our events – your feedback is invaluable to our drive!! The worst is of course all the admin and paperwork that goes into pulling off an event like this – especially the health and safety!

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m mostly described as a Victorian woman as my hobbies mostly include reading books (I try to challenge myself to 50 a year) crochet, cross stitch, and other crafty hobbies!! I’m also on a 200+ day streak of learning French with Duolingo. When I’m not doing any of these then I’m usually with my 3-year-old nephew doing whatever he wants – mostly spending my money!

Who would you most like to swap places for the day?

This is really difficult as depending on mood/reason for wanting to do this would be different people! I think my main choice would be some kind of librarian though as I get to be surrounded by books – the smell and feel and knowing they are present just makes me really happy!! I think it’s the thought of escapism and depending on the book in my hand I can be anywhere that’s ever been dreamt of.

What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was Longshadow by Olivia Atwater – it’s the third book in her Raegency Faerie Tales and revolves around a trans fairy and a lesbian relationship. I’m currently reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver which was this year’s Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction Award.

What’s your favourite quote/advice?

Never regret anything and hold on to them – everything is either a memory made, or a lesson learnt

What’s your go to song at the moment – past/present?

I’m literally obsessed with 80’s music and its most of vinyl collection but ever since reading Neon Roses and listening to the Spotify album my go to song that I play first every day is Bronski Beats – Smalltown Boy! Run Away, Turn Away, Run Away, Turn Away, Run Away

What website do you visit most?

I should say https://www.abergavennypride.co.uk/ but its not – its actually StoryGraph, which allows me to track my books read, what I have on my shelves, what books I want to read next, rate and review what I have read and see what my friends are doing as well.

What’s your go to beverage order of choice?

Hot or Iced 95% of the time its the exact same drink – Black coffee with caramel syrup (unless its sugar free then you can leave it on the counter) with a dash of cold water if its hot. I only ever order this out though, if I’m at home its just plain old black coffee for me

Tell us something we don’t know?

I am obsessed with church architecture around the world, especially the Gothic and the stained-glass windows – I’m not religious in any way shape or form but absolutely love the breath-taking beauty of how they were built. It’s a lost art that people can’t replicate in the modern age so we need to look after them and appreciate them whilst we can.

What's going on in the world?

Pride is still as important today as it was way back in the 1970’s when the Stonewall Riots changed the way we were going to be treated within the world. Awful things are happening everywhere – so here is tiny round up of some of things happening around the globe.

  • Italy has removed same sex mothers from birth certificates
  • Hungarian book shop fined for selling heartstopper
  • BBC under fire for telling staff to avoid Pride Events
  • LGBT flag burned at a school in California before a Pride event as Parents protest
  • Mike Pence is trying to ban trans people from the US Military – again!
  • Sinead O’Connor – music icon and activist – dies at the age of 56

Its not all doom and gloom in the queer world as there are still some good news stories happening as well – here are just a few we think should be celebrated.


  • 1000s turn up at Budapest pride in a courageous protest against Viktor Orban
  • Latvia swears in first openly gay president
  • Record number of LGBTQ+ players will compete in 2023 Women’s World Cup
  • Nepal makes History as first south Asian country to recognise same sex marriage
  • First trans winner crowned winner of Miss Netherlands
  • More than 100 trans men enter Miss Italy pageant in protest of “women from birth” rule

How Can You Support Us?

The easiest way to support us to follow and share our posts/stories from our socials .

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Calendar of Events


03rd                  Abergavenny Netball Club Trials (1/2)

04th                  National Cycle to Work Day

04th                  Park Farm Llangattock Maize Maze Opens

04th                   Jane Austens “Emma” with the Pantaloons – Abergavenny Castle

07th                  Summer Bank Holiday (Scotland)

07th-13th            National Afternoon Tea Week

08th-14th            National Allotments Week

09th                  National Opportunities Day

12th                  Barry Pride

12th                  Glitter Cymru Cardiff Pride

12th                  Powys Pride Picnic (Llandrindod Wells)

12th                  David Walliams Bad Dad Theatre Adaptation – Abergavenny Castle

13th                  Gay Uncles Day

16th-29th            Llanvihangal Court House & Gardens Open + Tours available

17th                  Abergavenny Netball Club Trials (2/2)

17th                  Alices In Wonderland by the Pantaloons – Abergavenny Castle

19th                  Merthyr Pride

25th                  Wear it Purple Day

25th                   Book:Ish (Crickhowell) Quiz Night

26th                  Riverfront (Newport) Pride Park Run

26th                  Get Your Skates with Pride in The Port @ NoComply

26th                  Penyffordd Pride

26th                  Usk Pride

26th                   Bailey-Jays Brain Tumour Battle Family Fun Day @ Pen Y Pound Stadium

28th                  Summer Bank Holiday (Wales, NI & Eng)

30th                  Riverfront (Newport) Meet the Authors Event



01st                   Bookish Abergavenny: An evening with John Niven

01st                   Rebel Heart Movement Present Silent Disco – Castle Meadow

02nd                  Brecon Pride

02nd                  Pride in the Port

07th                  Bookish Abergavenny: An evening with John Connolly

08th                  International Literacy Day

09th                   St Teilos, Llantilio Pertholey Open Day

10th                  World Suicide Prevention Day

09th-10th           Rhondda CT Pride

11th-17th             Sexual Health Week

16th                  Carmarthen Pride

16th-17th            Abergavenny Food Festival

16th-22nd           European Mobility Week

16th-23rd            Bisexual Awareness Week

19th-25th            International Week of Happiness at Work Week

21st                   International Day of Peace

23rd                  Bisexual Awareness Day

27th                  World Tourism Day

28th                  Bookish Abergavenny: An evening with Victoria Hislop

29th                  Bookish Abergavenny: An evening with Nick Thomas-Symonds

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