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Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to Zoe Williamson, agent at UTA in the US
By IQ on 30 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 Austin Sarich, tour director for North America at Live Nation here.
Brooklyn, New York, US
Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Working on and announcing Arlo Parks’ North America headline tour for this fall was a huge highlight. Seeing how much love there is in the US validated the incredible work that Arlo has poured into her music and into building an authentic and organic relationship with her fans.
What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Ignore the people trying to tell you to act or behave a certain way to succeed. If we’re going to make a shift in the industry, I would encourage any young queer and/or trans professionals to help break the mould of the traditional perception of ‘leaders’. We are the new leaders, and so anything we do is what leadership looks like.
“I would encourage any young queer and/or trans pros to help break the mould of the traditional perception of ‘leaders'”
Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I’m sometimes put in situations where I’m asked to work with someone for the sole reason that they’re in the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s disappointing because at times it can feel as though I’m being paired with someone because of my identity, not because of my hard work or skillset.
Industry professionals often misgender and misunderstand sexuality, and we have to take time and energy to educate, which can be exhausting and daunting. I’m all about patience, but it’s hard to work in an industry that has been saying for years it’s going to do the work, yet year after year that work falls on us to do.
“I want [the LGBTQIA+ community] calling the shots; not just having a seat at the table but having a say in the decision making”
What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
During the pandemic, I am proud to have been a part of the launch of Justice Now, a task force within UTA’s music department that aims to reverse systemic racism in the industry through four pillars of education, mentorship, empowerment and fearless imagination.
I feel lucky to work at a company that celebrates and embraces the LGBTQIA+ community, but I want to see more of my community in the industry. I want us calling the shots; not just having a seat at the table but having a say in the decision making.
How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
We need to create a space for industry professionals within the LGBTQIA+ community to not feel targeted, isolated, neglected, and unsafe. Accountability means nothing without consequences. Basically, if we don’t start telling people “You are not above consequences for your actions” and actually walking the walk on that, I don’t see this industry changing at the rate it needs to.
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