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We started by bringing Pride celebrations online: we met the people who don't go to Pride.

When the COVID pandemic shut down Pride events, workshops, festivals, and the places our LGBTQ+ communities congregate, freeQ jumped in to make queer online events safer and more fun! Over the past two years, and 300 online events, what we learned is that in-real-life (IRL) queer events do not go far enough to reach the community. It's the people who don't go to Pride who we are seeking to meet and connect with, as the pandemic recedes.

Do you remember your first Pride? Were you confident and ready to put yourself out there? I wasn't. I recall wondering if I was "gay" enough, having only been on a few same gender dates back in the '90s. I was worried that I would not fit in somehow. Like someone would know I hadn't yet "kissed a girl and liked it." Now I know that most young queers feel insecure and, frankly, most of us a bit older also feel awkward about whether we belong. Being out in public as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is a lot easier said than done. And a lot safer said. #Facts.

There are a whole host of other reasons that people don't go to Pride IRL. In addition to not feeling like part of the community, or not yet being out, there could be physical accessibility issues, and distance and financial needs. At freeQ events, we have met people who are home bound due to health and disabilities. We have met couples who lost their employments and do not have the finances to host the events they love. We have met people staying in and taking care of their elders. These queers need and deserve community online.

There is a massive population of LGBTQ+ people around the globe who don't go to Pride IRL, and freeQ wants to connect with them and serve them. freeQ dreams of developing more online spaces that offer #queerjoy, inclusion, fun, and love. Please join us on this mission!



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