NO CRUISING: Pride, Prisons and the Police State

Why do cops at Pride make me so uneasy?

Media personality, journalist and activist Ashlee Marie Preston joins Rojas – the organizer leading the #MeTooBehindBars movement – and Alex Espinoza – author of the forthcoming Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime – in a conversation around the ongoing oppression of queer bodies by the state.

Their conversation will be moderated by Commune Magazine’s Creative Director, Addie Tinnell.

Pride, Prisons and the Police State is part of our NO CRUISING program, at NAVEL from May 16–18. A portion of this event’s proceeds will be donated to the California Coalition for Women Prisoners’s #MeTooBehindBars initiative.


Alex Espinoza is the author of two novels, Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León, both by Random House. His next book, Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime, will be published this June, 2019 by Unnamed Press. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. The recipient of an NEA Fellowship in fiction, Alex lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Kyle.

Ashlee Marie Preston is an award-winning Media Personality, Producer and Civil Rights Activist. She is historically the first trans woman to become Editor in Chief of a national publication and the first openly trans person to run for state office in California. Ashlee Marie was named one of The Root 100’s “Most Influential African Americans of 2017”, profiled as one of LOGO/NewNowNext’s 30 Most Influential LGBTQ Influencers of 2017 & 2018, PopSugar’s top 40 LGBTQ’s of 2017, and was listed on OUT Magazine’s OUT100 of 2018. In addition, she made her TED talk debut in September of 2018 and was chosen as one of Coca-Cola’s “Next Generation LGBTQ Leadership” influencers of 2018.

Rojas is a gender nonconforming, formerly imprisoned, survivor of violence. They organized against gender discrimination while serving a 15 year sentence at CCWF in California. They now work with the Young Women’s Freedom Center and California Coalition for Women Prisoners to organize system-impacted people to join social justice movements in LA. They are one of the lead organizers of #MeTooBehindBars, a campaign to end gender and sexual violence inside all women’s prisons in California.

Addie Tinnell is an artist and communist living in Los Angeles. She is the creative director for Commune Magazine and runs the Legal Observing program for the National Lawyers Guild. She has a MFA in Public Practice from Otis and a BA in Anthropology, the history of queer anarchism and has studied gift economy and normativity in men’s fashion. Her work explores the themes of politics and aestheticization, femme and trans liberation, police brutality and the social construction of autonomous spaces.

Image courtesy the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries .