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.


Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love’s last name is a sweet piece of irony. He’s never been in love, nor does he see himself falling in love any time soon. After all, he’s got a lot more important things on his mind – dealing with transphobia, racism, and homophobia all at the same time while trying to make his way through senior year without simply exploding from the stress and strain. After a particularly vicious bout of transphobia in the form of hateful messages from another student, culminating in a collection of Felix’s pre-transition photos being posted publicly to the entire school alongside his deadname, Felix decides that’s he’s had enough, and its time for him to make up a plan for revenge. Little does he know, however, that this revenge plan is set to backfire in a chain of unlikely events that will leave him in an even more uncomfortable situation than before. Will all this boil over into a meltdown of emotion and lies, or will Felix get his happily ever after?


Gender Explorers: Our stories of growing up Trans and changing the world by Juno Roche

In this life-affirming, heartening and refreshing collection of interviews, young trans people offer valuable insight and advice into what has helped them to flourish and feel happy in their experience of growing up trans.
Speaking openly and candidly about their gender, their experiences of coming out, their aspirations, and their fears – accompanied by interviews and support from their parents and carers – this book is beautiful proof of the potential for trans children to live rich and fulfilling lives when given the support and love they need.
With their trademark candour and empathy, Juno Roche gives voice to a generation of gender explorers who are making gender work for them, and in the process, reveals a kinder, more accepting world, that we should all be fighting for.

Family Read

Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman

In this heart-warming picture book, a big sister realizes that her little sister, Jackie, doesn’t like dresses or fairies-she likes ties and bugs! Will she and her family be able to accept that Jackie identifies more as “Jack”? Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can’t wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn’t want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn’t like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack.
You will love this sweet story about change and acceptance. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

What’s the T? by Juno Dawson

Discover what it means to be a young transgender and/or non-binary person in the twenty-first century in this frank and funny guide for 14+ teens, from the author of ‘This Book is Gay’, in ‘What’s the T?’. Stonewall ambassador, bestselling trans author and former PSHE teacher Juno Dawson defines a myriad of labels and identifies and offers uncensored advice on coming out, sex and relationships with her trademark humour and lightness of touch. Juno has also invited her trans and/or non-binary friends to make contributions, ensuring this inclusive book reflects as many experiences as possible, and features the like of Travis Alabanza and Jay Hulme.

The companion title to This Book is Gay, What’s the T? tackles the complex realities of growing up trans with honesty and humour and is joyfully illustrated by gender non-conforming artist Soofiya.

You can pick up your copy of this month’s books from your local Book:ish store in Abergavenny or Crickhowell or online here: If these are unavailable at Book:ish, then you can find them online at , the biggest queer bookshop in the 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.

What The Trans

What The Trans was created in response to cis-nonsense in the media. It’s a weekly podcast and is made by and for transgender and non-binary people. Expect responses to news, fact checking, interviews and a ‘generous helping of snark’.

Gender Stories

Gender Stories is hosted by trans masculine, non-binary author Alex Iantaffi, who builds on their book “How to Understand your Gender: a practical guide for exploring who you are”. Alex and guests reflect on how gender impacts the different areas of people’s lives. Expect an eclectic variety of guests and topics, from money to music to erotica.

Astonishing Artists

Ruby Ravelle

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 very talented Ruby Ravelle!! A transgender musician, dog-walker, mystic and astrologer, residing in South Wales.

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

A. Whilst I have sung my whole life, I started playing guitar when I was eleven, and have experimented with a multiplicity of other instruments along the way.

My favourite part of the musical process has to be either recording, or live improvisation. In the studio, I love the experience of layering different instruments, experimenting with different sound worlds, and gradually watching a musical dream become a sonic reality. On stage, I love it when there is an opportunity for spontaneity to take over – to go into unknown territory, and just let the music of the moment take over, like a mystical seizure.

Q. Who are some of your biggest influences?

A. It was the music of Pink Floyd that first made me want to pick up the guitar. From thereon in I was influenced by the progressive rock of Genesis, Yes, and Jethro Tull, and the madcap genre-splicing of Frank Zappa. More recently, I spend much of my time listening to classical and opera, intermingled with Taylor Swift and Paramore.

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

A. I think there’s a fair amount of diversity in my local scene, though it’s always good to have more. More than anything, I think there needs to be more support for music and arts in general. Everybody told me they missed live music more than anything during lockdown. And yet, the lack of funding often reflects how little music is prioritised or respected as a valid pursuit of one’s time. Music provides a soundtrack to so many of the most important moments of our lives, and yet rarely gets the recognition it deserves.

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

A. The music that I create with Frankie Wesson is available under her name on all major music streaming services (Spotify, YouTube, etc.) Our latest single ‘Unviable’ was released earlier this month, along with a music video. We also have a new album in the works.

However, I am pleased to announce that my long-awaited prog rock album ‘The Dream Of Odysseus’ will be available for release soon. I don’t have a date as of yet, but, as it’s half-way through being mixed and mastered, it’s only a matter of time before my weird, epic masterpiece will be unleashed upon the world.

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.


Sense8 (Netflix)

Sense8 (a play on the word sensate) is an American science fiction drama streaming television series. The show’s first season introduced a multinational ensemble cast, portraying eight strangers from different parts of the world who suddenly discover that they are “sensates”: human beings who are mentally and emotionally linked.

One of them is Nomi Marks (Jamie Clayton), a trans “hacktivist”. In her past, Nomi used her hacking abilities to get IDs and passports for her trans friends who were unable to attain documents due to the governmental restrictions. Throughout her journey, Nomi discovers new powers, falls in love and is part of a chosen family that helps her survive. The show explores issues related to identity, sexuality, gender, and politics that its creators felt had been rarely addressed on television. Its central theme is an embrace of empathy across difference.


Disclosure (Nexflix)

This documentary provides an in-depth investigation of Hollywood’s depiction of Trans characters, their impact on the community and culture. Leading trans creatives and thinkers such as Laverne Cox, Susan Stryker, Alexandra Billings, Chaz Bono, Leo Sheng and more, share their heartfelt perspectives and experiences. It takes the audience through a history lesson using films and television shows to show how damaging and inaccurate the depiction and ideas of transgender people were displayed throughout, mostly, American cinema. Some of these examples used include Ace VenturaBosom BuddiesTootsieVictor VictoriaTo Kill a Mockingbird, and much more. Disclosure provides a direct conversation between transgender people and Hollywood by showcasing both sides of the conversation with direct examples in film history.


Cowboys (2020) (Amazon Prime Video)

A heart-warming tale of trans youth, Cowboys uses the beautiful backdrop of Montana to explore masculinity, both toxic and healthy. Anna Kerrigan, with her first feature length film, managed to give viewers an insightful look into the good and bad about being a man, and a woman. Without going for stereotypical portrayals, this passionate anti-western shows a man, and his transgender boy escaping into the wilderness and getting to know themselves for who they truly are.

The film’s focus isn’t on the transgender boy though, it’s on his father: Troy is an alcoholic with bipolar disorder and a rough past. He’s a rough person, but he loves his son. Joe has recently decided that he wants to be a man, not a woman, and his father is completely fine with that, his mother not so much. After their divorce Sally gets custody of Joe, but still lets Troy visit. It’s when she tries to revoke this right, that Troy decides to kidnap his own son and escape to Canada. All the while, Joe is very happy to able to go out into the wilderness with his father, who he adores. Troy is the only one that lets Joe be who he wants to be, indulging in his fantasy of being a cowboy.

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:             David Allardice

Pronouns:       He/Him

Identity:           Gay CIS Man

Why did you volunteer for Abergavenny Pride?

I moved to Abergavenny in mid-2022 from London and was delighted to discover that there was a local Pride, given that I’d been a bit concerned about how a gay male couple might be received in a smaller town. The 2022 event was great fun and a real eye-opener about the positive energy in the town and how welcoming it was, and I wanted to be part of the team helping to develop the event and make it even better for more people.

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

Best – Working with an amazing team of people who are completely passionate about doing the right thing, putting on the best event possible and making sure that we do the best we can across the whole community.

Worst – the amount of stuff that needs to get done with a small team, particularly over the event weekend (so please volunteer to help us out!)

What do you do in your spare time?

I love theatre and it’s something I miss a bit from living in Abergavenny now, so I take periodic trips back to London and see 4 or 5 plays on consecutive nights. Otherwise, its boring stuff like reading, cooking and watching TV. Abergavenny was supposed to lead to a healthier, more outdoors lifestyle but so far that seems only to mean walking into town to go to the pub! Next summer…..

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

As someone who has always had a complicated relationship with my body, I’d love to be a professional athlete or sports person for the day. I’d love to know what it felt like to have a body which could achieve remarkable things, to have the co-ordination and ability that would let me score tries, or goals for my team or country, just to train and not feel like my body is conspiring against me would be nice!

What was the last book you read?

I’m quite a big reader, mostly non-fiction rather than fiction. “Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart was an amazing book full of warmth for someone stuck in a truly difficult life, “O Brother” by John Niven is set in the Scottish town where I grew up, at the time I was growing up and is a devastating read about family love and loss. “In Memoriam” by Alice Winn is the last novel I read, a tough WWI story with a same-sex romance at its heart.

What’s your favourite quote/advice?

Be open to new experiences. Sometimes they won’t go the way that you hoped, sometimes they’ll open up your mind and take you in different directions. A few times in my career I took jobs when I didn’t know if I could do them or would like them, sometimes I ended being miserable and moving on, but I also met the most wonderful people and stretched my brain and learned skills I never thought I would.

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

I’m an 80s kid (and that was definitely the best decade ever for music and I will not be discussing that further). I love a bit of synthpop and I’m thrilled that Pet Shop Boys are still making really interesting, intelligent, sophisticated pop. So my go-to songs are rooted in that era, Pet Shop Boys, Bronski Beat, Communards, Propaganda, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. “Smalltown Boy” speaks to my own background and it still staggers me that such a profound song about the young gay experience was a big chart hit and is also great to dance to! I think there are some interesting artists around now reinventing the 80s sound and I really like Nation of Language, Bright Light Bright Light and The Scarlet Opera. Oh, and Kylie of course (might as well live up to a cliché)

What website do you visit most?

I’m a bit sad so probably BBC News, closely followed by The Guardian and the FT and other news websites. I’m a bit of a news junkie! Otherwise, the dreaded social media sites which I dislike for myself for using so much but they’re a great way to keep in touch with geographically dispersed friends.

What’s your go to beverage order of choice?

Wine. Red, white, pink, don’t mind! Tanqueray Martini (wet, with a twist) if I want to feel sophisticated. If its not alcoholic then it’s probably green tea or water – I gave up coffee 15 years ago, occasionally I get tempted to an espresso because it smells nice and it can keep me awake for two days!

Tell us something we don’t know?

I danced with Elton John at a charity fundraiser. He performed earlier in the evening, and I managed to blag my way into the afterparty and he was on the dancefloor and I ended up dancing next to him. I didn’t have the nerve to say hello!

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