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Literary Festival Raises Funds for At-Risk LGBTQ+ People Globally

Torrey Peters and Nicole Dennis-Benn
Torrey Peters (L) and Nicole Dennis-Benn

The event by Rainbow Railroad will showcase queer stories and perspectives. 

The upcoming Road to Freedom Literary Festival aims to help support LGBTQ+ people who face persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics by raising money for the nonprofit organization Rainbow Railroad.

Under the theme of "storytelling helps heal humanity's wounds," the organization will hold the festival at the newly renovated office tower above Penn Station, PENN 1, on January 12, 2023, in New York City.

"The Road to Freedom Literary Festival will contribute to that healing when prominent LGBTQI+ writers share moving and inspiring stories from their own work and 'roads to freedom,'" Rainbow Railroad said in a press release.

Rainbow Railroad is an international nonprofit organization working to assist LGBTQ+ escape violence and discrimination because of who they are. The group said it has helped more than 5,000 queer people find safety.

Journalist and novelist Richard C. Morais will host the event. Beneficiaries of the work of Rainbow Railroad will share their stories at the event.

They will be joined at the festival by poet and author of Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, Chen Chen; author of Patsy and Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn; Stanford professor, poet, and author of A Hundred Lovers Richie Hofmann; author of Detransition Baby, Torrey Peters; and HIV/AIDS activist and author of Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism, Peter Staley.

The authors will read selections from their work.

"Rainbow Railroad is grateful to this incredible community of LGBTQI+ writers and creators, who are lending their time and their stories to raise awareness and funds for our mission," Rainbow Railroad's executive director, Kimahli Powell, said in the release. "Right now, 69 countries around the world criminalize same-sex intimacy - including 11 which can prescribe the death penalty to LGBTQI+ persons. The opportunities and funds afforded from this event have never been more relevant."

Tickets can be purchased for $150. More information can be found here.

(Editor's note: equalpride, The Advocate's parent company, is a media sponsor for the festival.)

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