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From The Arq Sydney (Gazzarazzi Photography).


Gender & LGBTQIA+ inclusivity in live music venues

You'll Discover:

  • The benefits of re-assessing your venue as a safe space for all.
  • Tips to make your venue a safe space for all genders and also members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

No doubt, your venue already has practices and/or policies in place for supporting its diverse patronage, and as part of those policies you'll have an understanding of how to foster gender and LGBTQIA inclusivity. In this guide we've outlined industry best practice and clever suggestions for further supporting diverse communities, so that you can add to your current policies and in turn, support your local community.

But first the basics...

The Australian Human Rights Commission states that “equality and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights that belong to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or because they are intersex.” They also state that approximately up to 11% of the population identify with “a diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity”.

Poster provides tips for a more gender inclusive music industry. It outlines replacement terms for commonly used phrases that could be interpreted as excluding certain demographics and genders. Instead of saying 'Hey guys' you can say hey folks. Instead of saying nice to meet you man you can just say nice to see you. Instead of saying alright dudes you can say alright everyone. Instead of saying do you ladies want lunch you can say do you all want lunch.
Image courtesy of LISTEN.

Read on to discover how advocacy bodies and organisation have developed language and best practice to support LGBTQIA communities.


Inclusive language

Diversity Council Australia outlines how language can play a huge part in helping “a diversity of people (e.g. different ages, cultures, genders) to feel valued and respected and able to contribute their talents to drive organisational performance.”

They've outlined steps on developing inclusive workplace language, along with a couple of practical guides which can be accessed here.

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Gender-neutral bathrooms

An organisation called Youth Music outlines a number of ways to make your gigs more inclusive, but they also suggest that gender-neutral bathrooms “can help people who are transgender or non-binary to feel safer and more comfortable and it can also reduce long queues for the ladies’ toilets.”

Poster that says "tips for a more gender inclusive music industry. Everybody pees! Does your event, workplace or venue have toilets that everybody can use? Gender neutral toilets are a simple way to help gender diverse people feel safe and included.
Poster courtesy of LISTEN.

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Diverse staff & programming

Groups like LISTEN have been shining a light on the Australian music industry and the opportunities that are presented for women, LGBTQIA+, and trans and gender diverse people; as well as people of colour, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people or people living with disability.

LISTEN provide a resource on their website called ‘LISTEN Lists’. Compiled in conjunction with Identical Records, SoundGirls.org and Diversity Database by Recycled Rainbow - these lists contain Audio and Sound engineers, Performing Acts, Session Musicians, DJs and Producers who identify as “women and gender non conforming people in music.”

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Implement safety measures

One example of a safety measure is the ‘Ask For Angela’ Campaign.

It was launched in the UK in 2016, and “encourages patrons to approach bar staff and ‘ask for Angela’ if they needed help to leave an unsafe situation.” Staff are trained to deal with these situations.

If you haven't already, your venue could also consider creating a zero tolerance policy for discrimination, transphobia and homophobia and become a 'Safe Space' for the LQBTQIA community. Venues with these types of policies in place will often have signage to let their patrons know about expected behaviour when they're inside the venue (e.g. entries and exits). You could simply add onto your current house rules.

You can contact the Department of Industry - Liquor and Gaming NSW for more information and training. Both Amnesty International and LISTEN have safe-space posters and flyers that you can print out or order to put up in your venue.

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More information can be found through the following organisations:

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