"I hear a lot of institutions claiming to be safe spaces, and I see an awful lot of rainbow stickers and trans flags hung on walls and in windows. And yet, I encounter very few organizations that have actually done the work to make their spaces truly safe for queer, and in particular trans, people. So many places that claim to be queer- and trans-affirming still present barriers such as gendered washrooms and dressing rooms, a lack of understanding of gender-neutral language and pronouns, and even ignorant and transphobic personnel, volunteers, and donors. So how can we make our spaces safe? The answer is that we can’t, or at least not perfectly—not as long as human beings are fallible and limited and capable of harm, which we all are."
"While arts organisations are trying to include more transgender narratives, making sure that they are told in responsible ways is paramount. This is particularly crucial because there has been a long tradition of transgender stories being told by cisgender writers and actors, for example, Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club or Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, which can skew the focus of the narrative.
'Transgender people have the answers to transgender problems,' states Goforth. 'If you’re someone who wants to help, the best thing you can do is seek out and amplify the voices of transgender people.'"
"In the opera industry there’s a saying: “take the note.” It was drilled into me as a student. Basically, it means that as a performer it’s my job to nod and smile whenever a director or conductor offers me instructions or feedback. After all, I’m supposed to be grateful for the opportunity to work in my field, so I can’t ever risk talking back or disagreeing. As you might imagine, this makes for a pervasive culture of silence—eyes meeting uncomfortably across rehearsal rooms, hoping that someone will speak up while knowing that nobody will... I’ve decided I would like to throw the phrase “take the note” directly into the trash. Or rather, maybe I’d like to throw it back to the people in power who have benefitted from this culture of silence. It’s time that classical music institutions learn to “take the note” and receive feedback from marginalized artists."
Video by Rachel Wallis