GenOUT’s Choral Community: Queer Youth Creating Change
Session Abstract: When viewed as communities, choruses have the potential to do more than perform: they provide a sense of belonging to marginalized populations and they offer opportunities to use your voice to effect positive change. GenOUT – one of only nine choruses for LGBTQ+ and allied youth in the US – is a choral community that empowers young people to uplift queer voices as well as other marginalized populations. Since 2020, GenOUT has been engaged in a youth-inspired initiative to increase the racial and geographic representation of the chorus to more accurately reflect the diversity of the Washington, DC metropolitan area. In this session, singers in GenOUT will share how and when they recognized the problem of underrepresentation, describe the 5-Year plan that was developed (and is ongoing) to address this problem, and discuss the successes and challenges along the way. The session will include performances of repertoire that highlight GenOUT’s history and its journey to become more welcoming to youth of color and youth in underrepresented areas. By the end of this session, participants will have a greater appreciation for choirs as vehicles for leadership training and community-building, and will be acquainted with a model for increasing racial and geographic diversity in an ensemble. Session participants will receive a handout outlining GenOUT’s 5-Year plan.