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The MU and Come Play With Me Strive to Improve Landscape for LGBTQ+ Musicians

As LGBT+ History Month UK comes to an end, The MU and Come Play with Me (CPWM) would like to reaffirm our commitment to creating an industry and society where all LGBTQ+ people can live and work without fear of violence or discrimination.

Photo ofJohn Shortell
By John Shortell Published: 02 March 2023 | 12:12 PM
Hands holding musical instruments. Left to right, drum sticks, record, maracas, symbol and acoustic guitar.
Both the MU and CPWM strive to create safe and inclusive environments for artists and industry professionals. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The MU and CPWM are completely opposed to all forms of discrimination. We work to uphold the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people and stand firm in our solidarity with the entire LGBTQ+ community 365 days a year.

Improvements are still very much needed

In recent years, national and global resistance to LGBTQ+ rights have increased, with a particular focus on trans and non-binary communities. There has also been a steady increase in hate crimes and violence against LGBTQ+ people across the UK.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association Europe (ILGA-Europe), which produces a yearly “rainbow map” of 49 countries across Europe, revealed that the UK – which led the table in 2015 – had the most significant drop in ranking, falling from 10th to 14th place.

The strongest and most productive workplaces are those where all people can work without fear of harassment, violence, and discrimination and that includes all LGBTQ+ people.

Every member of the LGBTQ+ community should be able to play a full and active part in society and not have to hide parts of their identity to feel safe where they live or work.

Both the MU and CPWM strive to improve the landscape for LGBTQ+ musicians in the UK and beyond and work to create safe and inclusive environments for artists and industry professionals.

The MU represents our LGBTQ+ members on a daily basis at national and international levels

Naomi Pohl MU General Secretary says:

“LGBTQ+ musicians still face a particular set of challenges navigating a career in the music industry and just existing in wider society. Despite some progress, LGBTQ+ musicians who tour face issues in the 69 countries that continue to criminalise LGBTQ+ people. This can often mean a choice between earning a living and career progression and compromising their personal safety and in some cases their lives.

"That’s not to say the UK is a safe place for LGBTQ+ musicians, and we continue to work towards a safer sector and society here too.The trade union movement has a long and proud history of supporting LGBTQ+ rights and stood against prejudice even when it was unpopular. 

"The MU represents our LGBTQ+ members on a daily basis at a national and international level and will continue to do so until all of our members can work wherever they choose, without having to hide parts of their identity”.

It's important that we create spaces where people can truly be themselves

Toni Lines, Diversity Project Manager, Come Play With Me says:

“The work we’ve been doing with the MU throughout LGBTQ+ history month has been so valuable already and we’re keen to develop the conversations we’ve had with them and their members into tangible actions for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies that will help create change in the industry.

"LGBTQ+ musicians, managers, tour production teams, venue and festival staff and more are all hugely important parts of the sector, so it’s really important that we create spaces where people can truly be themselves and feel able to advocate for each other.” 

Aaron Casserly Stewart, Non Executive Director, Come Play With Me says:

“We’re immensely proud to be working with The MU as there is still so much to be done in this space. It is also vital that we recognise and address the additional barriers faced by LGBTQ+ disabled, LGBTQ+ people of colour and LGBTQ+ neurodivergent people in the music industry, as challenges for these groups are often even greater."

The MU and Come Play with Me will continue to work together throughout the year, strengthening our relationship and supporting each other’s work and doing what we do best, making the music industry an equitable place where all musicians can thrive.


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