Sounding a Queer Rebellion

Original video:

My name is Dr. Fiorella Montero Diaz, a lecturer in ethnomusicology at Keele University. Along with my partner in Colombia, Dr. Luiz Gabriel Mesa Martinez, we express our gratitude to the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Global Challenges Research Fund for generously awarding us a GCRF networking grant. This grant allows us to explore LGBTI musical resistances in Latin America.

Between 2014 and 2019, four LGBTI individuals were tragically murdered every day in Latin America and the Caribbean. This alarming statistic reflects a violent backlash against recent advancements in LGBTI rights in the region. Misinformed anti-rights campaigns, often attacking a perceived gay agenda, have contributed to the rise of socially conservative governments supported by evangelical and Pentecostal groups. These shifts in regimes are solidifying the marginalization of the LGBTI community.

In response to this, LGBTI youth are using music as a form of protest against violence and discrimination. They express themselves through music compositions, audiovisual creations, protest music demonstrations, and therapeutic LGBTI music events, fostering communities of psychological healing. Music spaces become a refuge where subversive voices find strength to confront a violent society.

Our grant enables us to build a cross-disciplinary network involving academics, artists, and activists from Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and the UK. We will explore music interventions and LGBTI musical resistances, build research and advocacy capacity, enhance impact through a cross-sector approach, and engage in regional discussions. The goal is to empower a discriminated community, drawing on ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology of religion, clinical and social psychology, law, social health, and performance-based activism.

We are urgently building this network to unite academia and civil society against misinformation and advance the implementation of LGBTI rights. Through collaboration between activists and academics across hemispheres, our aim is to shape policies, amplify the voices of repressed communities, and produce groundbreaking research and cultural interventions replicable across the region.

I am Luis Gabriel Martinez, a musicology professor at Haveriano University in Bogota, Colombia. Our research methods for this project will primarily involve participant observation, conducted in Bogota, Colombia, and Lima, Peru. In both countries, we will organize academic and artistic encounters with network members and musicians, sharing their expertise on using music as a resilience tool in LGBTI activism.

These activities will facilitate a horizontal dialogue between academic experts and a diverse group of Latin American individuals who have found music as an efficient means to communicate their reality and ideas. This collaborative approach to participant observation will ensure a collective production of knowledge and a sustainable dialogue between the UK support for this project and the local voices of the Global South, represented by Latin American countries.

This project stands out as the first initiative in Latin America to collectively study musical resistances in LGBT communities. Given the daily discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals in countries like Colombia and Peru, we believe that our work will have a decisive influence not only in our home countries but throughout the region. Our network already includes people from Argentina, Chile, and Brazil, indicating the potential for a significant impact on other Latin American countries. This project represents the initial step on a vocational path toward the visibility and equal rights of our community.