The following document was approved by the Board of the Society
for Ethnomusicology in November 2012.
Society for Ethnomusicology strongly supports gender and sexual diversity among
its membership, and advocates for policies that do not discriminate on grounds
of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Society acknowledges that
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) ethnomusicologists
are often subjected to particular systems of discrimination and harassment in
the workplace and in the field. Moreover, the Society recognizes that research
by and about members of sexual/gender minorities is vital to an intellectually
rigorous, diverse, and fully participatory domain of scholarship.
this interest, the Society for Ethnomusicology supports its LGBTQI members in
the following ways:
• Opposes employment discrimination based on sexual
orientation and gender identity;
• Supports domestic partner benefits for all
ethnomusicologists, and supports colleagues who are denied benefits on the
grounds of sexual or gender identity at their place of employment or study;1
• Actively supports the abolishment of immigration laws that
discriminate against LGBTQI people;2 and
• Supports federal, state, and institutional recognition of
LGBTQI families when lack of such recognition affects ethnomusicologists'
careers, and supports equality in spousal hiring policies, the use of research stipends
to support same-sex/transgender partners, and other situations in which
sexual/gender minorities are at a material disadvantage.
the Society is committed to making ethnomusicology a rich, diverse field that
is invested in research about and by people of sexual and gender minorities. In
this interest, SEM
• Acknowledges that research on gender and sexuality is
valuable within and outside ethnomusicology, and that LGBTQI ethnomusicologists
make important contributions to music studies through their scholarship, pedagogy,
• Recognizes that LGBTQI ethnomusicologists face particular
challenges, including concerns for personal safety, while working in parts of
the world that are not tolerant of sexual and gender diversity, and that such challenges
may shape these ethnomusicologists' scholarship and career paths in profound
• Encourages ethnomusicologists to make their offices and
classrooms "safe spaces” for sexual/gender minorities, and encourages
ethnomusicologists to seek out LGBTQI resources at their institutions for the benefit
of undergraduate and graduate students, colleagues, and staff.
position statement is necessary and timely: while considerable advances have
been made in the struggle for LGBTQI equality in the last few decades,
sexual/gender minorities still face de facto and de jure discrimination and, in
some settings, the possibility for personal harm. In the United States, no federal
law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity exists, and hate crime legislation is not universal or universally
enforced.3 The Society for Ethnomusicology affirms that LGBTQI ethnomusicologists
deserve to be treated equally and protected by law, and recognizes that this
equality is not yet fully reflected in state, national, and international
Denying domestic partner benefits creates a system of second-class status that
may lead to economic hardship, serious health-related consequences, denial of
spousal privileges, and strained relationships with colleagues and administrative
Because marriage and other forms of legal partnership between same-sex couples
are not recognized at the federal level in the United States and in many other
countries, ethnomusicologists in bi-national same-sex relationships are not
able to sponsor their families for immigration, thus severely limiting
employment opportunities and/or requiring extreme personal sacrifices.
maps of legislation pertaining to sexual/gender identity, see the National Gay
and Lesbian Task Force's website: http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/issue_maps.