Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to Leigh Millhauser, coordinator at Wasserman Music in the US
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Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to Raven Twigg, promoter assistant at Metropolis Music in the UK
By IQ on 28 Jul 2021
The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.
The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster here.
Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Whilst I was a student in Manchester, I bagged myself a casual job working on the customer service desk at Manchester Arena, igniting the bug in me to be at as many live shows as possible. I was able to meet people, prove my hard-working nature and be offered a position programming the venue, as well as other arenas and theatres across the UK. I don’t think any of us knew then that I’d end up in London then booking talent into the venue myself, but I’m extremely grateful to those who offered me an opportunity back then. I feel extremely proud of myself for my journey.
What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Seek out inclusive spaces such as networking collectives, queer talent nights, etc… It’s only once you’re around like-minded people that you can access your full potential.
Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I’ve never felt any challenges with Metropolis Music, personally. We’re a very diverse and inclusive team and I’m very grateful for that. I have been told in other work environments that I ‘don’t look gay’. I’m not sure what gay looks like, and it took me a long time to even identify with that word.
Once colleagues become aware of your sexuality, some folx will look at you differently and can never ‘unsee’ your queerness. I’ve also had my sexuality and relationship discussed like office gossip, and that set me back significantly as I struggled with understanding why others found it such a big deal, and felt extremely othered and vulnerable.
“To change the discourse of seeing the same white, cis-gendered male, indie bands littered all over line-ups, it starts with us”
What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
Seek out queer, trans and non-binary talent, whether that’s on an artist front or for your employment opportunities. We need to give marginalised groups a foot through the door where we can. To change the discourse of seeing the same white, cis-gendered male, indie bands littered all over festival line-ups, it starts with us. By becoming more inclusive with our Spotify streaming habits, the demands shift and marginalised groups are given a platform.
A causes you support.
London Friend. They’re an LGBTQ+ voluntary counselling service and they helped me masses over the past year in terms of “coming out” to my family and friends, accepting myself and being in a same-sex relationship. It’s safe to say that without them and my counsellor, specifically, I wouldn’t be writing this so publicly for you today.
Women Connect. I have to plug our collective, of course. We are a femxle-forward collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women, non-binary people and gender-fluid folx working in the creative industries and beyond.
The collective was birthed from a place of passion and the undeniable need for women in the creative industry to come together organically. We’re entirely self-funded and we aim to create a safe environment for our community.
“I can already see the [post-pandemic] differences when communicating with agents and venues”
What does the near future of the industry look like?
Hopefully, very busy! The pandemic has affected our industry like no other. With the opportunity to grow and educate ourselves whilst working from home (I appreciate this isn’t the case for everyone), we’ve had more time to focus on ourselves and I truly think the industry will bounce back to a stronger and kinder place.
I can already see the differences when communicating with agents and venues, we all understand the difficulties each of our areas of the industry has bear witness to and it feels so much more united.
How would you like to see the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
I hope that the industry, post-pandemic will be a more forgiving place and make space to look after one another better. Our industry can be exhausting, my personal record is four gigs in one night. We need to create boundaries and practice saying no – we physically can’t be at every live show and it shouldn’t be looked down upon if you’re taking a night off to go home, cook yourself a hearty meal and put your feet up.
Our mental health is the most important thing, let’s try to approach situations with compassion. Always say please and thank you and let your employees and colleagues know that you appreciate them. It’s easy to forget that even the busiest of humans, are still humans and a thank you can go a long way.
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