Travon Free has won Emmys for his writing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Today, he’s working on an HBO show with Insecure creator Issa Rae, about a bisexual black man. He believes no one, no matter how powerful or powerless they may be, is exempt from the task of advancing social progress.
Growing up in Compton, Free struggled with whether to come out as bisexual while on his high school basketball team (Free had NBA potential until a career-altering injury). He is intimately familiar with racism, homophobia, and discrimination of all types.
“I really want to work to change the image of what it is to be a man and disconnect that entirely from who you sleep with,” Free said in a recent interview with Them. “I think if we can get to a place where more men who are across the spectrum can be more honest about their feelings around sexuality and not feel like it’s a detriment to who they are as a man, I think we can rid society of so many problems that have a direct correlation to toxic and hyper-masculinity, [like for instance] school shootings.”
Speaking with Quartz, Free explains how he uses his social platforms to advance equality, why racial, LGBTQ, and gender liberation are intimately intertwined, and the best advice he ever received from Jon Stewart.