Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by davidsait, Dec 27, 2015.
In the past few days, an LGBT+ Brass Band Community has been started on Facebook.
Just purely for an educational point why start a Facebook page based purely for the LGBT community? Should I perhaps start a heterosexual + Brass Band Community? Music has no sexuality, no gender, no age. We play it and listen to it purely for the enjoyment factor and should not attach our sexual position to it. Purely my thoughts of course. . . .
Don't be silly. You can't can't have a facebook page for heterosexuals it's not politically correct. Wash your mouth out with soap and water!
Thank you thank you thank you ! I've been wondering what the hell those letters stood for, never expected it to be that though !
Good luck to them all, on a lighter note though just think of the hissy fits about who gets to play the solo's !
Perfectly stated. Music is genderless. The sexual orientation of folk who perform or appreciate it is totally irrelevant.
Do you feel that our colleagues from the LGBT community experience discrimination within the brass band community generally? If so, how extensive is it in 2015 and how should this be addressed?
I would hope that all bands equally welcome players from any background and they do not discriminate.
On the linked page, one of the stated purposes of the idea is to provide brass bands for gay pride marches. Given that I don't seem to hear of many bands playing for pride events, this seems like an excellent piece of banding outreach that should allow brass bands to reach a wider audience. Who would want to object to that?
So having made the argument that's easy to sell, let's try for one that people will frown more at...
Often, brass bands tend to the socially conservative. It is not difficult to find banders that are ostentatiously proud to be old-fashioned in their social attitudes, and to find bands where such attitudes dominate the overall personality of the group. The public acceptance of LGBT is a phenomenon of the last couple of generations, and so the aforementioned old-fashioned banding spaces tend to be spaces in which LGBT people feel that they have to be on their guard, lest offence be taken. I can very easily see why a 'safe space' could be very appealing to some. The page does state that all are welcome - one doesn't have to be LGBT to get involved - one just needs to be comfortable making LGBT people comfortable.
It's not as simple as the blatant discrimination of "No gays here" that was once current; it's about everybody feeling comfortable being themselves around everybody else. And it's a notoriously hard problem to solve - not just regarding LGBT issues, it also deals with making society fully accessible to any grouping of people that's under-represented due to access to privilege seeming more difficult than it is to those of us lucky enough to be mainstream.
An interesting thread but one that in some ways I am surprised to see on this forum as, IMHO, it has a political content and as such could be detremental to the forum (music not politics here please).
That angle above apart I have seen people harassed and/or abused for their perceived sexual orientation and feel that there is no place for such actions in civilised society. So if you are LGBT I'd be happy for you to be in any band that I play in provided, of course, that you can play near enough at the band's standard and act in socially acceptable ways (i.e. The same criteria that other members of the band could reasonably expect of any joiner.)
Does the world really need a special face book page for LGBT Banders? I really do dislike the idea of the page. However, if such a facebook page is a useful part of what it takes to get society to accommodate some of the perfectly reasonable people I know who also happen to be L or G then, IMHO, it is something worth accepting.
I see no problem with the facebook group, or promoting it here, if it helps some people to feel more comfortable as they pursue their hobby. There have undoubtedly been some who have made fun of members of the LGBT community, as shown by the need to remove an inappropriate post from this thread. Whether there have been instances of malicious persecution only those involved could say, but I would personally back any group that offers supp0rt in such circumstances. As for the reference to 'political content' I do not see that as an issue at all.
Hi 2T, been a little while, hope all is well.
There are two points I'd like to make in response to this:
1) Although there are philosophical spin-off points to be made ("political", if you like - but I wouldn't call them that), the basic thread premise is in no way either political or philosophical.
2) And what's wrong with talking about politics, anyway? The flow of traffic on this forum has slowed to a drip, and politics discussions always enliven an environment; would you rather shut down the first discussion in months that's shown a hint of liveliness than let the forum breathe? You can rest assured that PeterBale is one of the most sensible moderators you'll find anywhere on internet fora, and will deal with trolling accordingly.
Btw, not at all saying you might display what I'm about to talk about, but the phrase you used - "socially acceptable" - leads straight to the problem, so it's an obvious next point for discussion.
There's the rub. There are plenty of people in bands who declare themselves fine with LGBT people, but then sneer when they see e.g. two men holding hands or a transgender person identifiably in the early stages of their journey to present as the opposite sex - people doing just what other people do, going about their daily lives, but incurring a social penalty for it. Not just bands of course, but wider society too - but bands are our little corner of society, the microcosm that it is in our power to make into a welcoming venue. These sneerers apply a double definition for "socially acceptable", where LGBT people have to clear a higher bar in their mind to be 'behaving correctly'.
That's a natural human tendency of insularity - "what I do is the correct way, and anything different has to justify itself" - but it's one that makes it incumbent on all of us to realise how false the assumption behind it is, and police our own behaviours accordingly in order not to make categories of people feel shunned. Getting it wrong is sadly common, and leads to a lot of minorly unpleasant behaviour on the small scale - the sort of stuff that makes people create "safe spaces" like the one linked. For comparison, think of the routine male-on-female harassment revealed by e.g. the Everyday Sexism project (scroll down to see a lot of unpleasant behaviour documented - the top couple of hits on the Twitter feed as stands are not entirely convincing, but there are many that are convincing below) - nothing in my experience as a male could lead me to anticipate the snide, back-handed discriminatory and sometimes vulgarly abusive ways that some idiot males treat female strangers with. And likewise, nothing in my experience as a heterosexual could lead me to anticipate similar that some idiot hetero cis people treat LGBT people with. There's a whole pile of social privilege that most of us sit atop, without ever really taking a close look at what it means to not have that privilege. It's eye-opening to consider it when you do, and it's hard to do so without coming away with the impression that you need to be an advocate for those less socially privileged.
Well said that man Moomin. There's a lot of sense spoken above by Dave and for the life of me, I can't see what the problem is with somebody setting up an Brass Band LGBT+ page on Facebook. I've chosen to Like it, and think it needs to be encouraged.
I feel I should contribute to this thread. Yes, there is still an element of homophobia in some corners of our 'movement', though I would argue that this is no worse than any prejudice found in ordinary society. I would also argue that any social group (like brass bands, fishing, golf, whatever...) will show signs of prejudice towards any other.
I am sure there are plenty of people who have felt prejudice against them at some point in their life, regardless of banding and regardless of their non-band interests.
My concern is that setting up a group that is aimed at the LGBT+ community (and excuse my ignorance, but what is the plus - is that the all inclusive bit?) could be divisive and, in my opinion, is a little hypocritical. If we set up a group for the heterosexual band community, or the men aged 25-35 band community, there would be plenty of protests of discrimimation, even if these groups were aimed at 'providing a supportive community for people of a certain social group, but all are welcome regardless of age, gender, race or serial orientation' (to paraphrase the LGBT+ group.
Now, I have played in bands for most of my life and I have seen nothing to suggest that any social group (race, gender, serial orientation, age or anything else) is particularly discriminated against. This group suggests that there is an element of homophobia and that they are looking for some form of outlet.
As we can see from this thread this is already a divisive topic and the creation of this group could be a catalyst for further, unjust discrimination. Perhaps if the group creator looked at making it clearer what the aims and objectives of their group are so as not to insight any negativity.
Having said all if this, the idea of having another community withing banding isn't necessarily a bad thing, and having a scratch band on tap to perform at specific and niche events is wonderful and great for promoting brass bands to new communities. I just think the way it has been publicised could be clearer.
As I understand it, the "+" relates to the fact that there are lots of labels out there for slightly different groups, all of which can usefully band together in mutual solidarity, as the bigoted elements of society don't tend to discriminte between them when handing out abuse: female and male homosexuals, yes, bisexuals too, then the rather different overall category of transgender people - male-to-female, female-to-male - those for whom it is the whole of their life, and those for whom it's a fun Saturday night - there's all sorts of shades. Thus "LGBT", but then what about intersex people? So sometimes an I is appended. People that are totally mainstream, but want to get involved and show support? Pansexuals? Asexuals? Any of the other myriad varieties and combinations of gender expression and sexuality you might find out there which are fundamentally no-one's business but the person experiencing them. It quickly becomes a vast set of initials catering for a number of niche cases - that's what the "+" is for. It's already slightly unwieldy with "LGBT", but it's decently well understood these days; tinkering further would I feel just make people throw up their hands at the difficulty of understanding it.
We have a group for heterosexual brass banders - we call it "brass bands"... We have a group for male brass banders - we call it "brass bands"...
We also have very many groups of age-limited bands. YABB traditionally operated broadly on the 25-35 definition for years as a twice-a-year touring band, and I don't remember anyone giving the slightest thought to that being a problem.
With respect, I think you are probably underestimating the lots of little ways in which LGBT people experience societal rejection. While it's not nice to think about exclusive attitudes being harboured amongst our circle, we do them a disservice if we just whitewash the thought out of existence - "oh, it's probably okay, let's just call it quits, eh?".
Like you, I have played in various bands over the years, and in general observations on these matters have rarely arisen. Many bands (at least round here) have done a good job of producing environments that are welcoming to LGBT people. As band manager, I had the job of announcing the transition of a transgender player to the ensemble some while back; they were quite nervous about their reception, but I was able to reassure them that I thought that there was no-one in the group that would be weird about it - and indeed no-one was, and the whole episode I feel was a notable success in band relations terms. A few were curious, but in a friendly and supportive fashion that quickly sensed when questions were potentially over a line. Some pronouns were inevitably got wrong, but never maliciously.
But the fact remains that simply being different is a nerve-racking thing. You only need one snotty or careless comment to ruin your week, and so those who don't stand out genuinely don't tend to appreciate how much reassurance is required.
And the fact remains that there are plenty of neanderthals in banding, people for whom "gay" is an insult, and who don't have a good feel for the idea that LGBT people are just normal (helpful, caring, easily-hurt) people that have one thing different. Collect enough of them into a group together, and hey presto - unwelcoming band. Even having one in the room is likely to make an LGBT person feel that they have to be on their 'best behaviour' - don't do anything outside the absolute core of 'normal', just keep quiet. An LGBT space is somewhere where they can relax from that tenser-than-normal state. That's what this is ultimately about - providing a "safe space".
I do wonder why this might prove to be a divisive topic on tMP. I've explained the logic of it, and in light of that are people still finding it so?
It's a subtle thing, but present. Perhaps we might consider why the defence of it is being mounted by someone who is not obviously under their umbrella - and to me the answer is obvious - standing up here and saying "I am L or G or B or T, and this is why this makes sense to me" is an exposed posture - LGBT banders here (and there are a number that drop by) feel that doing that would lay them open to potential unwanted interactions on a private area of their lives.
I don't think the supplying of bands to pride marches is the primary intent here - but it is a very obvious use to which it can be (and already is planned to be) put.
Another very well informed response by Dave Taylor with points made in an expert way.
On the down side Dave you out class us all here by some wide margin and so debate is stifled and certainly not balanced. It can not be so (balanced) as your flattening posts above illustrate. Balance from minority groups in general would be a nice thing to have rather than what appears to be a demanding of rights and creation of pressure groups and cliques.
It was interesting to hear of Dave's activities as band manager with a member in gender transition. I have no doubt that he eased the situation but fundamentally the player must have made efforts to be liked and accepted by the rest of the band too. And here we have the rub: life is tough and to a greater or lesser extent we are all discriminated against in some way. When you join a band you have to accept their ways, dig in and make friends as best you can. Many of us have moved bands when things didn't work out and accept the need to do that as often as it takes, minority group members would do well to remember that others also face hurdles and acceptance issues too.
I note Dave's point about LGBT people being normal (helpful, caring, easyily hurt) people with just one thing different. Perhaps I have not understood correctly but in my experience of LGBT people they are normal in the sense that some are indeed helpful, caring and easily hurt whilst (a small percentage of) others are devious, dishonest and hurtful types who should be avoided if at all possible - the normal sad spread of humanity which encourages us all to act with caution.
It would be nice if this thread was wound up soon. Better even if all the comments but the OP were deleted and the thread locked. It was, after all, a simple announcement rather than anything else in particular.
We have a group called "brass bands" - it is neither for heterosexuals or males specifically. It is for making music, as others have stated.
You may find many bands where these are the primary demographics but framing these as therefore heterosexual- and male- "spaces" defines a division that need not be there - it creates an expectation of unfriendliness which generally is not there and does a disservice to the majority of bands and bands-people.
Dave, nothing personal but you've eloquently explained the logic behind one perspective of this - to think that there can be no disagreement is rather presumptuous.
This thread is becoming more political with every post and needlessly so - the disagreements seem to relate more to approach and viewpoint than because of any differences of opinion about welcoming diversity and decreasing prejudice. I don't see anyone opposed to the group because they support prejudice (trollish comments aside)?
I don't think the relevance of left-wing "progressive" viewpoints to brass banding is a topic for a board that seeks to avoid political debate.
This, IMHO, is spot on.
I think this thread is very interesting, and I very much endorse the original posting, and Moomin's subsequent defences of it. Indeed, the criticisms of those defences perfectly illustrate why an LGBT band is needed. Here's a case in point:
This type of statement is of the same genre as the classic "I've nothing against gay people, some of my friends are gay, BUT...". It is a projection of blame and guilt from the mainstream to the marginal, effectively blaming them for not being mainstream. Why should a transgender person make a special effort to be liked? Can't they just be who they are? The way "mainstream" people can?
So, bravo! to the original poster, and I wish them the very best of luck with their endeavour.
Happy new year one and all from Hayley Cropper brass.
Brass bands ARE discriminatory. I think I have only worked with two black or Asian players in 38 years of banding. Obviously the majority of Asians round here are Muslims and they don't play instruments for religious reasons, but it is still a clear indication of a problem. In Scotland brass banding is a predominantly catholic activity. I don't know if that is something that has ever really been accepted, but it does affect the way things operate, in subtle ways, sometimes.
I have a disability, and I am also middle aged. I have been discriminated against openly because of these. Brass bands, or more accurately people in brass bands, do discriminate. It starts with discriminating against people because they are not good enough players to help you win contests, but this allows people to feel that other kinds of discrimination are OK, when they would not be acceptable in other areas of life.
Incidentally, I have known two openly gay bandsmen over the years, so they do exist.
I agree with the majority of what you say and agree we have a poor representation of ethnic minority's. Just one point bands are competitive and ranked and therefore of different standards rejecting a player because of his or her ability surely cannot be discriminatory? If it is then why am I not playing football for Man Utd? Surely that is discriminating against someone who is slow and very little football talent.
I suppose what I meant was that bands discriminate in favour of people they think will help them win contests, and sometimes that is not based on playing ability, but similarity in background or reputation (having people advocating for the potential new player). I guess that most bands don't audition for players based in open contest for any seat so there are all sorts of subtle discrimination.
I am sure someone will bring up my catholic comment so I should explain that too. It's about similarity in background, knowing the same people, having been at the same school (we have segregated schooling in Scotland) rather than anything religious.
I have had offers from five bands in the past two months, two of them in championship. I won't be going back to brass banding. My heart has been broken.
Of all things I have had to get my trumpet out and start doing trumpet gigs to get some playing.
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