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Position Statement on Anti-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Sexual Diversity (2012)
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The following document was approved by the Board of the Society for Ethnomusicology in November 2012.


The 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.

In 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.

Moreover, 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, and activism;

• 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 ways; and

• 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.

This 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 legislation.

1 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 management.

2 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.

3 For 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.

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