There are some concerns to note from the reported quote of basketball icon John Amaechi urging gay sport stars not to come out too soon if they are not prepared for what follows. Speaking at M.E.N, now a psychologist and Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic player Amaechi hoped his role as a cultural ambassador will raise awareness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issues. Also a deeper concern raised by Lord Browne of Madingley, quoted by UK Press Association last week, saying prominent gay men and lesbians feel continued pressure to hide their sexuality in order to succeed. Lord Browne reportedly added the business world remains “more intolerant of open homosexuality” than professions such as the media and the arts.
However, responses from artists and organisation in LGBT art sector suggest the mainstream art world does not seem to be proactively liberal and supportive as yet, when it comes to presenting same-sex or transgender issues by LGBT artists. There are a few notable exceptions, but in larger number of cases the level of tolerance wears thin when it comes to sustained and much-needed ‘innovative’ promotion of queer arts or artists. The regular excuse of ‘art work not being good enough’ shows a lack of will to support practitioners or to the sector in developing, promoting and nurturing the talent that exists.
If people feel strongly about the discrimination in the business world or want to acknowledge the pressures that exist on LGBT people, they can help engender change via culture and the arts. Business communities can and should be more forthcoming to support the arts in these difficult economic times when public funding for the same activities face enormous cuts. Perhaps, people like Lord Browne are better placed to help promote business sponsorships for young talent to tackle the issues most effectively.
- posted by Niranjan Kamatkar
Niranjan Kamatkar is artistic director at WISE THOUGHTS, arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival in November across venues in London.
GFEST, London’s annual LGBT arts festival in November presents Performances, Visual arts and Short Films. More info on GFEST web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival