We live and work in a rapidly-changing social environment. One in which, thankfully, more and more people feel safe and welcome to express their true selves. This includes sexuality as well as gender identity and expression. If you are not a member of the LGBTQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual/ally) community (or even if you are!), you may not know how best to support your LGBTQA+ ensemble members. We've put together a list of resources specifically for music directors, music educators, and ensemble leaders to learn about LGBTQA+ terms and issues, as well as online communities where music directors can ask questions and connect with peers.
LGBTQ Safe Space for Music Educators
This closed Facebook group is designed for music educators to engage in discussions regarding issues about our schools, students, colleagues, parents, and communities. The forum is meant to be a LGBTQA safe place, meaning that the environment of the group is friendly and accepting to people of all genders and sexualities. Posts do not have be exclusively about LGBTQA topics, but can be about general education topics.
GALA Choruses leads the North American LGBT choral movement. They are dedicated to helping choruses become more effective, both artistically and administratively. The GALA mission is “Empowering LGBTQ Choruses as we change our world through song.” GALA has a great resource section on creating LGBTQ+ inclusive ensembles and transgender singing voices.
Encore Tours Backstage Blog
Part of Encore Tours' mission is to support music directors year-round, not just while on tour. In this spirit, Encore has teamed up with a number of experts on LGBTQ topics in music education to create resources for music directors on LGBTQA_ topics. Read our blog “7 Tips to Make Your Choir Inclusive of Gender Diversity” by Dr. Joshua Palkki and “Rooming for Everyone: Housing Transgender Musicians on Tour” by Erik Peregrine.
A project of Dr. Joshua Palkki, Queering Choir is a resource site for all things LGBTQ in choral music education.
Music Education Conferences
Music educators and ensemble leaders have been attending conferences for decades to learn more about various topics in music education, directing, and nonprofit music organization administration. Increasingly, these conferences include sessions and information on LGBTQ+ ensembles and ensemble members, as well as how to make ensembles a more welcoming space for LGBTQ+ people. At the 2017 Chorus America Conference, Encore sponsored the session 'Creating a Welcoming Space for Transgender and Non-Binary Singers' and at the 2018 Chorus America Conference, Encore sponsored 'Creating a Welcoming Space for Young LGBTQ+ Singers' and 'Justice Choir: The Transformative Power of Group Singing.' Even if you aren't able to attend conferences, they will often post resources from sessions online following that conference.
Non-Music Specific LGBTQ+ Advocacy Organizations
GLSEN – The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN; pronounced “glisten”) is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students. Check out their Educator Guides for GLSEN Programs, which include LGBT-inclusive curriculum and lesson plans on bullying, bias, and diversity.
It Gets Better Project – The It Gets Better Project is a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth around the globe.
National Center for Transgender Equality – The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice.
National LGBTQ Task Force – The National LGBTQ Task Force trains and mobilizes millions of activists across the U.S. to deliver a world where people can feel free to be themselves. Check out their Institute for Welcoming Resources, an ecumenical group that provides resources to facilitate a paradigm shift for churches of all denominations to become welcoming and affirming of all congregants regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
PFLAG – PFLAG is the extended family of the LGBTQ community. They’re made up of LGBTQ individuals, family members, and allies with a mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters across the United States. PFLAG chapters work directly with schools and stakeholders in their communities, providing support, resources, training, creative programs, and even model policy to create an environment of respect. You can find out if PFLAG has a chapter near you on their website. If one doesn’t exist – you can learn how to start your own chapter!
The Trevor Project – Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under 25.
Most of these resources center around music teachers and choral organizations. If you know of any LGBTQ+ online resources that are made for bands, orchestras, or other ensembles, please let us know by commenting on this blog post or emailing Encore at email@example.com.
We hope these resources provide a starting place for you as you work to make your ensembles a more welcoming place for all musicians and meet the needs of your LGBTQ+ ensemble members.