The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Laura Nagtegaal, Ms Gyver
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 Nadu Placca, global event & experience architect at The Zoo XYZ, based in the UK here.
Guitar technician & tour manager, MsGyver
Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Prior to my transition, I would get hired before I’d even finish saying yes. Never, during those 15 years, did I need to send a resume or even prove that I was worthy. After having struggled most of 2019 to get hired at all, I had finally managed to be accepted and respected as Laura. And as a result, my calendar was filling up again in the exact same way I had been used to for all those years.
What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Be yourself. Do not be afraid to speak up and be seen as your true self. Will it be awkward and frightening? Yes, you can bet on it. Do your job to the best of your abilities and accept only criticism on your possibly underperforming. Do not accept criticism on who you are, ever. They have no right!
And, in the meantime, we – the ones currently in the industry – are working hard to (re)write the rules of engagement, while continually working on paving the path for you, so your path will be smoother.
“My employability literally went down the drain when I changed my name and pronouns and what’s in my underwear”
Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person in the industry.
Today, as a woman (who happens to be transgender), I am on the receiving end of sexism. Not so much on the unsolicited sexual advances but all the more on the job equity.
My employability literally went down the drain when I changed my name and pronouns and what’s in my underwear. My skills stayed the same. Still, it took me a year of trying to get hired again. Twenty-five years of experience in the industry vanished, as if they never existed. Not even my resume was able to turn that tide.
Like other marginalised people, whether by being queer, non- white, or any other way, I now need to work twice as hard for the same ‘recognition’, and a mistake counts twice as heavily. It’s a steep and rocky hill to climb now, whereas my path as a mostly white male was as close to a smooth and level highway as can be.
What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
We need to stop hiring based on who we know or what tour we were on. And certainly stop hiring based on our likeness to cishet white men.
Do a good job and/or act like a human: get hired again. Do a poor job and/or act in a deplorable manner: lose your spot.
“Whatever [the industry] will look like, it will not and can not be like it was like before the pandemic”
A cause you support.
I don’t actually support an official cause, but I dedicate a large amount of my time engaging with, and providing visibilty for, marginalised people in both the live music industry and sports. Queer and women in general, and transgender people in particular. “Visibility will, inevitably, lead to awareness. Through awareness, the path to acceptance can be found, and followed.”
What does the near future of the industry look like?
Whatever it will look like, it will not and can not be like it was like before the pandemic. And if it does, we’ll have to need to learn to come to terms with that.
How would you like to see the industry build back better, post pandemic?
Once we restart, we had better act on the improvements we’ve been discussing for the last year; on creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment, where attention to mental health and compassion is not something to be ridiculed anymore, and as a whole we will positively empower the other so together we’re stronger (instead of us simply trying to not be the weakest link ourselves).
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.