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.


Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson

This book was my favourite read of 2022!!! It has everything anyone could possibly want from a book!! A Discovery of Witches meets The Craft in this epic fantasy about a group of childhood friends who are also witches. If you look hard enough at old photographs, we’re there in the background: healers in the trenches; Suffragettes; Bletchley Park oracles; land girls and resistance fighters. Why is it we help in times of crisis? We have a gift. We are stronger than Mundanes, plain and simple. At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls–Helena, Leonie, Niamh, and Elle–took the oath to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she’s a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition or doing what is right. Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship, and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie, and Elle may have grown apart, but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven. Book 2 – The Shadow Cabinet is also out now with the Trilogy being completed in 2024.


How We Fight for Our Lives – a memoir by Saeed Jones

Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time

Family Read

They, She, He easy as ABC by Maya Christina Gonzalez

They, She, He easy as ABC shows that including everyone is all part of the dance. It’s easy. It’s fundamental. As the dance begins the kids proclaim, “No one left out and everyone free,” in a sing-song rhyme about inclusion. This sets the stage for readers to meet 26 kids showing us their dance moves.

Ari loves to arabesque. They hold their pose with ease.
Brody is a break dancer. Brody loves to freeze.”

Fast-paced rhyming keeps the flow of text upbeat and rhythmic, and naturally models how to use a wide range of pronouns. There’s no room for stereotypes on THIS dance floor with spirited imagery that keeps names, clothes, hair and behaviour fresh and diverse. The combination creates a playful and effortless practice to expand ideas about gender while learning the alphabet and makes being inclusive as easy as A-B-C.

This book continues the work started in They, She, He, Me: Free to Be! also by Maya & Matthew, and what School Library Journal called “a gorgeous and much-needed picture book about pronouns and gender fluidity.” Both books provide a way to build on gender inclusive practices and help interrupt the formalization of gender stereotypes and assumptions.

You can pick up your copy of this month’s books from your local Book:ish store in Abergavenny or Crickhowell or online here: https://www.book-ish.co.uk/ If these are unavailable at Book:ish, then you can find them online at https://www.queerlit.co.uk/ , 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.

Deck of many Aces

Deck of many Aces is an actual-play DND podcast made by actual asexuals and aromantics! Follow our four heroes as they adventure through a fantasy world on the cusp of a technological revolution, augmented by magic. Each character’s fate is tied to one of the 22 cards in the “Deck of Many Things”, a DND magical object based on a tarot deck.

Sounds Fake but Okay

Sounds Fake but Okay is a podcast where an aromantic asexual girl and a biromantic demisexual girl talk about all things to do with love, relationships, sexuality, and pretty much anything else that they just don’t understand.

Hoodrat to Headwrap

Hoodrat to Headwrap is a podcast hosted by Ericka Hart and Ebony Donnley. Their podcast tackles a wide range of topics, but their main focus always centres around Black queerness and dismantling white supremacy. If you’re looking for a radical hood perspective and interesting takes on politics, love and art, this is the podcast for you!

The Read

The Read is a podcast hosted by Kid Fury & Crissle, and is one of the most popular podcasts around. Once a week they discuss hot top(ics) and whatever bottoms Kid Fury wants to drag that week, followed by an advice section where they read and answer listener letters and finish off the podcast with a READ of the week.

Astonishing Artists

Kaysha Louvain

We love all time 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 wonderful Kaysha Louvain who was part of our Main Stage performers for our Pride 2023.

Q. Brief intro (here’s where you can tell us a bit of basic info about yourself and if you would like, let us know how you identify and what your preferred pronouns are?

A. Hi everyone! My name is Kaysha Louvain and I’m a queer singer/songwriter and musician. I go by she/her. I was born and bred in Newbridge, South Wales.

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

A. I have been making music and performing since the age of 10, so around 18 years. I started musical theatre at a local company when still in Primary School. I then began to write my own music and by the age of 12 I was in the studio recording. I enjoy every aspect of making music. From the very beginning where you put pen to paper, to then beginning to write the demo’s and once I have something I’m happy with I send it to my producer. Then the fun really begins because he turns my idea into something magical. I like to get very hands on, its part of the reason I created TIWN Media, a One-Stop-Shop for musicians. I enjoy the process of distributing the music, speaking to radio stations, publications and promoting my music. Its why I take pleasure in helping other musicians with this side of things. I think if I have to pick a favourite part it has to be performing music to an audience. There’s nothing quite like that feeling.

Q. Who are some of your biggest influences?

A. I grew up in a household where music was a huge part of my life. My mother sings and my father is a multi-instrumentalist. We had Simple Minds on constantly, so we are huge fans. Other singers and bands I grew up listening to were Shania Twain, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner, Celine Dion, Tom Jones. All big voices and personalities. I later found Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlisle, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood. I still listen to a wide range of music from heavy rock to country to swing. If something sounds good and makes me feel then I am very happy.

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. The simple answer is no! it has changed in the past decade that I’ve been playing professionally. However, LGBTQIA+ artists are still not given the same opportunities. I have seen too many straight and cis people get opportunities over queer artists undeservedly. It wont change until we are in charge. If we keep working and keep getting ourselves into positions of power, then we will start to see the real change.

Q. 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?

A. You can find me on any streaming or digital platform that you may use. I have a new single out this autumn that I’m very proud of. I’ve been working with JAMMY once again. I’ll also have some exciting live sessions and music videos coming out during the next few months. My company TIWN Media has just formed another partnership with a local venue, Scala, so I’m hoping I’ll be playing there before the end of 2023.

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.


Shadowhunters (Netflix)

Shadowhunters, also known as Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, is an American supernatural drama television series developed by Ed Decter, based on the book series The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare. On her 18th birthday, Clary Fray is accepted into the Brooklyn Academy of Arts. That evening, while out celebrating with her best friend, Simon Lewis, Clary sees a group of suspicious people that nobody else can see. She follows them into the back room of the club, witnessing a fight. She interferes, grabbing a blade. Believing she has accidentally committed a murder, Clary is distraught and immediately rushes home. Her mother, Jocelyn Fray, then reveals invisible inkings on her own skin, similar to those worn by the group at the club. Knowing she will be attacked, Jocelyn fears for Clary’s safety, asking their friend Dot to send her through a portal to Luke, her only father figure.

However, when she arrives, Clary believes Luke has betrayed her, leading to her returning to her apartment. When she arrives, she finds her mother missing, and a monstrous Dot asking her about a Mortal Cup. Clary is saved by a blond boy from the club, who seems to know more about herself than she does. She joins up with a group of Shadowhunters, half angel half human, to save her mother from the villainous Valentine Morgenstern, Clary’s own father, and discovers powers she never knew she possessed. Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with the mysterious, narcissistic, and attractive Shadowhunters Jace, Isabelle and Alec and drags her loyal and geeky friend Simon along for the ride. Now living amongst the fair folk, warlocks, vampires, and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold.

At one time GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation – an American non-governmental organisation) stated that Raphael Santiago in Shadowhunters as the “only asexual character…on all of cable television



Watchmen is a 2009 American superhero film based on the 1986–1987 DC Comics limited series of the same name co-created and illustrated by Dave Gibbons and Directed by Zack Snyder from a screenplay by David Hayter and Alex Tse. A dark and dystopian deconstruction of the superhero genre, the film is set in an alternate history in the year 1985 at the height of the Cold War, as a group of mostly retired American superheroes investigate the murder of one of their own before uncovering an elaborate and deadly conspiracy, while their moral limitations are challenged by the complex nature of the circumstances.

Matthew Goode, who portrayed Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias in the 2009 film Watchmen, has stated that he portrayed the character as being asexual. He also described the character’s sexuality as “ambiguous”. This was also reflected in the Watchmen TV series.

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:              Kate McCulloch

Pronouns:       She/Her           

Identity:           Lesbian CIS Woman

Why did you volunteer for Abergavenny Pride?

Well, I ask myself that a lot! I am actually one of the founding members, 4 years on and I’m still here. No matter how many times it gets extremely stressful, and I think to myself “I can’t do this another year” I always find myself getting excited in the planning stages and hearing the stories and seeing the smiles at the event makes it all worth it.

Now that I have a child it makes it even more important to remain part of the committee and to make sure that she sees all parts of LGBTQ+ community and to grow up knowing that there are other families out there in a town like hers and to know that its normal. Also seeing a lot of children from ally families enjoying the day, knowing they see us, that love is love, and how important it is to be yourself fills me with optimism for the future.

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

Best – seeing our vision grow and evolve every year. Watching all our hard work pay off and know that we’re doing something special for our community. Getting things ready for the day and seeing things come together.

Worst – all the behind-the-scenes stresses, hoping the weather behaves, wondering if we’ve let the community down, can we actually pull it off and the never ending to do lists!

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend a big chunk looking after our daughter so there’s not a lot of energy left but I enjoy watching TV/Films (Love the Bear, Only Murders in the Building but currently I’ve started watching Ghost Whisperer, proper old school!), listening to Redhanded (a murder podcast), doing DIY around the house, gardening, walking the dog and spending time with the family.

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

Ooh, one person, hmm. I’d love to experience something extreme like a Red Arrow Pilot, Rally Driver or even a musician like Pink – something I’ll never be able to experience.

What was the last book you read?

Have to admit I’m not a massive book reader, I’m currently reading Adam Kay’s “Undoctored” but I’ve been reading that for well over a year and not even halfway through! I guess my child’s books don’t count? If they do, the last book I read was Bluey’s “Unicorse”!

What’s your favourite quote/advice?

Be nice to everyone you meet, especially the cleaner, you never know who you’ll meet on your way back down.

I never really got this as a kid but I remember my Mum saying this to me. But it’s true, because if you do “fall” there might not be anyone around to help you if you’ve been horrid to them in your climb to success. Also, the cleaner usually has all the keys and is a handy person to know!

And just generally to be a nice person, you never truly know what someone is going through. We need more kindness and understanding in this world.

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

Ooh, so many, I’ll always go to Pink (cliché, but she is one bad ass woman) but I actually quite like the songs from Bluey! Can you tell my child adores Bluey. OK, honestly, I do love me some old school stuff that ranges anything from Rolling Stones to Adele to a bit of Kygo to some Jill Jackson to Bob Marley. It depends on what mood I’m in really but at the moment, I’ve been loving the 00’s classics – brings back some memories.

What website do you visit most?

Amazon! That’s terrible isn’t it. I don’t think I have a particular website I visit the most, a lot of the time its just Google asking a variety of questions.

What’s your go to beverage order of choice?

Coke. Full Fat, full sugar original Coca Cola in a can or a glass bottle. Not Pepsi, not Cola, not on tap. If I’m after something alcoholic it’s Barti Du Rum and lemonade or a fruity cocktail.

Tell us something we don’t know?

I was an extra in the classic Yorkshire series “Heartbeat” when they came to our school to do filming. Had to play hockey in the background and walk up the school driveway with friends. Was so exciting at the time but now I absolutely hate being in front of any sort of video camera. You can usually find me making swift exits when there’s filming at a Pride event.

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