charlie in front of flower bushes

Meet Charlie, our Marketing Specialist! Along with our Artist Spotlight fundraiser, this Pride Month we're introducing you to some of our staff in the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

"I'm Charlie. I've been the Marketing Specialist at Free Geek for almost four years, and I'm both queer & nonbinary. Back when I was receiving my undergraduate degree at Western Washington University, I started taking classes in Queer Studies because I felt if I wasn't extremely educated about my identity within the LGBTQIA2S+ community, I wouldn't be accepted into it. I felt I had to study the community to realize I was 'allowed' in it, and could hold space, and be supported by my community. I would find myself in conversations with people saying 'Well, from my studies' instead of 'Well, from my experience'. It took me years to untrain that part of me- the part that valued statistics and education over someone's own life truths, including my own.

I'm 29 now, and have found a space where I sit comfortably in my identity within the community I have been able to be strengthened and comforted by. I have found a type of support I thought was impossible to receive-- from people with such diverse life experiences, but who care for each other tremendously nonetheless, and who will support each other as much as they can no matter how different their experiences might be from one another's. Pride Month isn't about buying corporate rainbow merch. It's about truly supporting the community. Helping local mutual aid projects. Supporting local artists. Providing resources. Creating truly equitable opportunity.

During Pride Month I am able to see how confidently people present their natural and unapologetic selves, and how stupendously this community provides immeasurable support and care for one another. I am proud of and humbled by so much more than my journey when it comes to the LGBTQIA2S+ community, and I am so thankful for how each member of this community has encouraged me, supported me, and helped me move along this life. I aim to spend my life providing as much support to everyone in this community as they have to me throughout my own journey."

Thank you Charlie for all of our help at our organization!

Want to know how to support Free Geek and an artist in the LGBTQIA2S+ community this month? In celebration of the amazing contributions the LGBTQIA2S+ community brings to the world, for Pride Month we have released new limited edition Free Geek t-shirts designed by PDX-local artist, Dorothy Siemens (@dorothydotcool on Instagram), for our new Artist Spotlight Series. All proceeds go to Free Geek's efforts toward getting technology out to the Portland metro community.

Learn more about Free Geek Pride T-Shirt Fundraiser & purchase a shirt here!