LGBTIQ+ List 2023: Saskhia Menendez, Keychange
The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.
The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile with Lucy MacKenzie McNae, tour manager (Josef, Twin Atlantic) at Two and a Half TMs in Glasgow, Scotland.
The series continues with Saskhia Menendez (She/her/hers), Keychange innovator & board of directors at The F-List Music in London, UK.
Saskhia Menendez is an equality and diversity ambassador, researcher, public speaker, and social change activist. She works to help diversify the music industry landscape, as well as help improve representation and access and to educate and inform people about the issues and barriers certain underrepresented groups face. She is a multiracial trans woman who transitioned 12 years ago and is the parent of two children. She has over ten years of experience in the music industry.
Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
I have really enjoyed being part of the Keychange programme, where I have been speaking publicly internationally and educating people on the issues and barriers trans people face when accessing the music and entertainment industries. Helping with policy change and collecting research on equality, diversity, and inclusion in music. I have also helped with the Misogyny in Music inquiry and become a board member at the F List Music CIC.
Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
Kim Petras. She a real inspiration to me as a trans woman; she’s inspired me to start recording some tracks later this year.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Always stay true to yourself, don’t listen to any negative comments, and never give up!
“The sheer lack of trans professionals and performers in the music and entertainment industries…we need more role models”
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Learning that I could still sing after transitioning, as the effects of estrogen changed my voice. I had to learn how to use my voice again and what techniques work for me, and which ones don’t anymore, but I am very happy with how things are progressing.
In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
The sheer lack of trans professionals and performers in the music and entertainment industries, we need more role models and greater visibility. I am hoping to educate, inspire, and change negative perceptions to make it easier for the younger generations coming through the talent pipeline.
How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
I think the live music business will become eco-friendlier and more sustainable; the massive work around equality, equity, and inclusion needs to continue, and I think it will. I also feel that more collaborations need to be done internationally to support artists especially around touring and visas.
“The industry could employ more people from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities”
Name one thing you’d like to see the live music business change.
A charter or rider to support trans and nonbinary people.
Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
The industry could employ more people from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities and do more education and research on the issues and barriers certain groups face when trying to access the music and entertainment industries.
Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
Massive shout out to LIVE, Jon, Gaby, and the team. I sit on the diversity workforce panels every two months and have such great friends and support!
Do you support any LGBTIQ+ causes?
TGEU – I am a member and social change activist, aiming to improve the lives of trans people across the UK, Europe, and South Asia.
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