June has arrived! We are officially half-way through the year. June is also Pride Month. Pride is known in the LGBT Community as a month filled with celebration, joy, and parades. But this Pride Month is different. Pride parades and events across the globe are canceled. But this doesn’t have to stop the spirit of Pride. I couldn’t write this article without including others. I asked our SoundGirls Community that identify as LGBTQ+ to share experiences and insight. Here is what some have to say.
What does Pride mean to you?
“Pride to me is just being true to yourself. Loving what makes you different from everyone else. Loving the parts of yourself that people will try to shame you for. Being you and loving it. That’s pride to me.” (Alexi Wright, She/Her)
“Pride means being able to bring your whole self to any situation and not feeling like you have to hide or amend any part of who you are” (Kacie Willis, She/Her)
“Pride means being unashamed of who I am and what I accomplish, or how I live.” (Samantha Potter, She/Her)
“Pride means not being afraid or ashamed of my own identity. (Luana Moreno, She/Her)
“To me, Pride is about being able to come together with my queer community and take up space in a way that we are not normally afforded.” (Audrey Martinovich, bi, she/her)
Have you ever experienced prejudice in a work environment because you are LGBTQ+?
“I’ve experienced the typical misogynists that come with working in a very male-dominated industry. A lot of LGBTQ women do go through some form of bs, which is very unfortunate because these women are more than capable of doing their job. But, I personally don’t have any crazy horror stories when it comes to my experiences.”
“Not overtly, as in “we don’t hire lesbians”. But I have experienced being equated to “the guys” and being expected to be complacent with the objectification of other women because I’m attracted to them. I have been objectified because I am a bisexual woman. And heard that this orientation is “just an excuse to be slutty”.”
“I am very fortunate to have never had my sexuality be an issue at work but I recognize that this is not the case for many LGBTQ+ people.”
In what ways can the Entertainment Industry, particularly the Audio Industry be more inclusive?
“The industry should make conscious and consistent efforts to provide educational/shadowing opportunities to students in under-represented demographics. It all starts with exposure.”
“Be more welcoming to women in general. Stop the boys club culture, because toxic masculinity and homophobia come in that same pack.”
“The audio industry can be more inclusive by marketing towards minority groups of all kinds and encourage participation. It’s becoming way more of a casual topic, gayness, and the like than it used to be. I think the Entertainment Industry probably has the highest ratio of LGBT-to-het/cisgendered individuals. Audio is not a large group and by sheer numbers, there are just statistically more white straight men. It’d be nice if we could have a space for LGBT audio folk. It comes down to the question, “How do we get people who have no idea this industry exists involved in said industry?”
“The audio industry needs to make a conscious decision to be more open and include images of Queer, POC, and women in their advertising and media campaigns. Normalize the look of someone other than straight, white, men as a place to start. Hiring people with the intent to have a diverse staff. If Beyoncé can find 15 black women who can play the violin while being her tap-dancing backup dancers, it’s possible to find more queer engineers/producers for projects.”
What advice could you give to a SoundGirl that is struggling with their identity?
“Best advice I can give you if you’re struggling with your identity is, trust yourself.
Nobody knows YOU better than YOU. Trust that you’re not crazy, and there’s NOTHING wrong with you. Most importantly, love yourself. You’re beautiful in every way.”
“Anyone struggling with their sexuality or identity should find a group of friends through which they can find a support system. SoundGirls is a great community to sort of shout “Hey, is there anyone else like me out there?” and find those other people who can relate or at the very least, are strong allies. We should never be afraid to live like how we want, but there are some real-life limitations and it’s a tough line to walk — that world between being true to yourself and a working professional. Sometimes those can be mutually exclusive but often are not. Like most things, there’s a huge land of gray where we can live as ourselves and be amazing professionals in pro audio.”
“Reach out to the community, in private if needs be. It’s incredibly inclusive and most people in this group are committed to being supportive.”
“I would tell a struggling SoundGirl to find a community. Whether that’s a friend they trust or to post in the SoundGirls Facebook page. We are here for each other from amateurs to pros, gay/straight/everything in between and beyond, and I know personally that older LGBT+ folks went through some stuff and love passing down advice and guidance to the younger generation. Whatever you’re experiencing, someone has been through it. Find them and ask how they dealt with it and how it turned out.”
“The struggle is real…but on the other side of the struggle, you will eventually find peace. Breathe. Live life day by day.”
As a Black Queer Muslim Woman working in the audio industry, I am thankful for my SoundGirl’s Community. I am grateful that I have a community that is empowering and uplifting. At times, when I felt like my voice wasn’t heard or I was discriminated against in a work environment, I am always able to count on SoundGirls for support and guidance.
Have a safe Pride Month, filled with love and self-love.
Thank you to all of the SoundGirls that have contributed.
Alyasia Muhammad-Turner: Alyasia is a freelance sound engineer and musician, currently based in Atlanta. Her work consist of running FOH for local Atlanta artist, teaching flute lessons, and editing podcasts. Alyasia’s goal is to continue education and training for women, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ in STEM fields. Alyasia blogs about Mental Health and Music Education. Alyasia holds a BS in Recording Arts from Full Sail University. As a high schooler, she studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, obtaining college credits studying Contemporary Music. Her love of music and science fuels her passion and creativity in the audio industry. She’s empowered by the community SoundGirls has created and hopes to help pave the way for others. In her free time, She enjoys making playlists, roller skating, being a dog mom, and volunteering at her local LGBTQ+ homeless shelter.