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LGBTQ+ in music

This page signposts to community groups and helplines which support LGBTQ+ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and others) working in music. We have also collated articles and playlists celebrating LGBTQ+ music professionals and organisations.

Discover the ISM's vital campaigning work to tackle discrimination across the music sector, and access support if you have experienced discimination.

Community support

Below is a non-exhaustive list of communities that support LGBTQ+ people working and participating in the UK music sector.

  • Pride in Music: A non-profit charitable collective working to create a cross-industry network for the LGBTQ+ community, artists and allies working within British Music
  • Pink Singers: A fun, friendly LGBT+ choir based in London
  • London Gay Men’s Chorus: Boasting over 200 members, the LGMC is the largest gay choir in Europe
  • Safe in Sound NI: An initiative providing a safe space for underrepresented voices in the Northern Irish music sector
  • Diversity Choir: London’s original lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community chamber choir
  • London Gay Symphony Orchestra: An orchestra providing a safe and supportive space for musicians of all sexualities
  • The Fourth Choir: London's LGBT+ chamber choir for advanced singers
  • she.said.so: A global community of women, gender minorities and allies in the music industry
  • The F-List: A directory of UK female+ musicians
  • Her Ensemble: A string orchestra with the aim to make a positive impact on the gender gap in the music industry and create space for musicians of marginalised genders
  • Girls Rock London: An award-winning charity providing high-quality music programming for young and adult women, trans, and non-binary people
  • Bassists with Boobs: An online double bass community for people who identify as women, trans or any other underrepresented identities
  • Gender and the Large and Shiny Instruments: A collective which encourages young girls, women, and non-binary people to take up brass, percussion, and large and shiny instruments
  • Multitude of Voyces: A non-profit organisation specialising in supporting underrepresented and marginalised communities through the creative use of music and words

    Articles and podcasts

    These articles and podcasts celebrate LGBTQ+ musicians and initiatives to support them.

    • LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Remembering this year's queer pioneers: IQ Magazine launched its first annual LGBTIQ+ List in 2021, celebrating 20 outstanding queer professionals in the international live music business
    • PRS Presents LGBTQ+: PRS for Music and PRS Foundation bring you a special online virtual edition of PRS Presents to celebrate the diversity of their members and the LGBTQ+ community. Including performances from Right Said Fred, Self Esteem, Big Joanie, Bishi and Abisha.
    • 5 trans opera singers: Alternative Classical highlights five transgender opera singers, and their experiences of being trans within the world of classical music and opera. There are also some useful tips for how to be an ally to the trans community as a cis musician.
    • 6 grassroots organisations supporting LGBTQ+ young people through music: Youth Music highlights some of the organisations they invest in that support LGBTQ+ young people all year round
    • Gay Music: In the Key of Q: Music-loving gay podcast. The best bi and gay music from around the world featuring insightful and inspiring conversations with Queer musicians.

    Playlists

    Pride in Music has put together a selection of playlists to celebrate UK Pride.

    Support helplines for LGBTQ+ people

    If you are an ISM member, you can call our free 24-hour personal support and advice helpline, staffed by professionally qualified counsellors who are able to provide confidential support and advice.

    ISM members also have access to bespoke legal advice and representation from our in-house legal team. Contact [email protected] for assistance.

    There are also organisations which offer support to LGBTQ+ people facing a crisis, discrimination, health issues or challenging circumstances:

    • Switchboard: A one-stop listening service for LGBT+ people on the phone, by email and through instant messaging (030 0330 0630)
    • Stonewall: Information and support for LGBT communities and their allies (080 0050 2020)
    • Galop: The LGBT+ anti-violence charity (020 7704 2040)
    • 56 Dean Street: A sexual health clinic in London which focuses on the needs of the LGBTQI+ community (020 3315 5656)

    Legal support

    The ISM's specialist in-house legal team can help members facing discrimination at work, supporting you to navigate the complexities of employment law.

    Dignity at work campaign

    The ISM campaigns to highlight and tackle the issue of discrimination in music.

    We launched the Dignity at work campaign in 2017, committing to working on a collaborative basis to improve the workplace for musicians and to secure change on a long-term basis. As part of our approach to understand the extent and nature of these issues facing musicians, the ISM has conducted research, submitted evidence to Government and engaged with colleagues from across the sector, in order to formulate practical solutions to change culture and working conditions for musicians.

    In May 2022, we launched a new survey on discrimination in the music sector, which we encouraged music professionals to complete. The results will be published later this year, and will shape our campaigning to ensure that all music professionals can work free from discrimination.

    The ISM calls on music organisations to sign the ISM-MU Code of Practice. The Code of Practice is a set of principles that aims to eradicate bullying, harassment, discrimination and other forms of inappropriate behaviour within the sector. Over 110 organisations have signed up.