skip to main content

12 Recommendations to Make the Music Industry More Inclusive for LGBTQ+ Musicians

The Musicians' Census' LGBTQ+ Musicians Insight Report revealed multiple issues that the music industry and Government need to tackle to make the industry more diverse and inclusive. Here we look at the recommendations we think can make that happen.

Published: 07 February 2024 | 5:00 PM
Group of four young people, smiling on a roof top while one plays acoustic guitar.
We have made 12 key recommendations to improve diversity and inclusion within the music industry. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The LGBTQ+ Musicians Insight Report has found that musicians from LGBTQ+ communities face significant barriers and issues relating to discrimination, sexual harassment and concerns around physical, mental and financial wellbeing.

Based on this, we have made the below recommendations to improve diversity and inclusion within the music industry.

Funding and investment

  • Government must invest in culturally relevant and informed mental health services for LGBTQ+ people.
  • Industry needs to invest in spaces that create community for LGBTQ+ musicians with a specific focus on trans musicians. A lack of professional networks was highlighted as a major career barrier for this community.
  • Industry should invest in long term initiatives that support the career progression of LGBTQ+ musicians, this should include mentoring, coaching opportunities and access to professional support and advice.
  • Industry should invest in and support the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA) to help tackle the high levels of discrimination and sexual harassment LGBTQ+ musicians face.

Research and education, as well as training and networking opportunities

  • Industry should invest in LGBTQ+ inclusion training to ensure that all workplaces are safe spaces.
  • Industry needs to review the language we use to make sure it’s inclusive of all LGBTQ+ identities.
  • We found that LGBTQ+ musicians represent a young subsection of the music industries, therefore industry should identify ways in which to, and commit to consistently including younger musicians in decision-making.
  • Industry needs to provide integrated, accessible networking opportunities for LGBTQ+ musicians and their allies, as we know that this community experiences high rates of neurodiversity and disability.
  • Industry must collect robust diversity monitoring data that includes freelancers. This data will help the industry measure diversity, and identify and close pay gaps, including freelance pay gaps. Any diversity monitoring should be fully representative of the entire LGBTQ+ community.
  • This report scratches the surface on the issues faced by LGBTQ+ musicians. Further and more in-depth research is needed by the industry to better understand some of the issues this report highlights. Specific research on trans musicians would be particularly beneficial.

Attitude and accountability

  • Industry must work towards a culture of disclosure where people can be open about their sexuality and/or gender identity at work if they choose to be. MHFA England’s Whole Self Campaign wants to create workplaces where we feel safe to bring our whole selves to work, without fear of prejudice or consequence. Despite a growing understanding of the importance of psychological safety at work the Census found a significant number of musicians who are not open with everyone that they work with.
  • Government must intensify efforts to end abuses of LGBTQ+ people internationally. As we know LGBTQ+ musicians tour a lot for work and international travel isn’t always safe for LGBTQ+ people.

Make sure your voice is heard

The MU will be working with members and partner organisations to move forward in these areas and help implement the recommendations made.

You too can get involved in the Union's work for change by:

  1. Signing up to the MU's LGBT+ Members Network, if you are a member of this community
  2. Learning about the work we're doing for LGBT+ members
  3. Reading the full LGBTQ+ Musicians Insight Report, or for an overview of key findings viewing our report summary.

Representing and advocating on behalf of LGBT+ musicians

Get involved with the MU's work on lobbying for an LGBT+ inclusive education, the end of abuses to LGBT+ people internationally, and a fair and equal representation.

Join our LGBT+ Member Network

Our network is a space where people with shared identities can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry. The network ensures that the voices of LGBT+ members are heard, and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created. 

Join our network if you identify as LGBT+.  

Join the LGBT+ Network

Representing and advocating on behalf of LGBT+ musicians

Continue reading

Close up of crowd with hands draped over a metal stage barrier, wearing yellow festival wristbands.

MU Partners with YOUROPE for Launch of its New Diversity Toolset for Festivals

Our ED&I team contributed as consultants on YOUROPE’s diversity and inclusion toolset for festivals, utilising a range of the Union’s resources. MU Officer Dr Diljeet Bhachu is also listed on the project’s advisory board, specifically contributing to items on anti-racism and diversity.

Published: 02 July 2024

Read more about MU Partners with YOUROPE for Launch of its New Diversity Toolset for Festivals
View from the back of the room of all hands raised in a support of our motion at the LGBT+ Conference.

MU Motion on LGBTQ+ Musicians Passed at STUC Conference 2024

The MU sent a delegation to this year’s STUC LGBT+ Workers’ Conference in May, where our motion on tackling transphobia, ensuring culturally relevant mental health provisions and improvements to the Equality Act passed unanimously.

Published: 17 June 2024

Read more about MU Motion on LGBTQ+ Musicians Passed at STUC Conference 2024