A couple weeks ago at a restaurant/bar three miles from me, the band got beat up in the parking lot. Popular local musicians, they had many supporters chime in on the venue’s Facebook post about it. My comment was simply “Too late. Nice try.” Most comments supported the band, a couple were just mean trolls, and then there were two that basically said that a band with effeminate men should have known not to accept a gig where Proud Boy types hang out.
Now part of me gets this. I had already told several people that I had purposely not ever tried to book a gig there. But blaming the band for booking a gig there is all kinds of wrong.
The band members have told their story. I don’t want to get into details I wasn’t there for, but as a woman I can speak to acceptance of the idea that there are some places only “manly” men belong. There are no places that “manly” men could gig and get beat up by petite “girly” women, eliciting responses of “Well they should have known better.” Acceptance of places that are not safe for women or “effeminate” men or trans people is not only creepy and weak, but it leads to an extremely unequal economic playing field.
I’m already used to asking men to walk me to my car after gigs. I’m used to being prepared to wield my black Manhasset stand as a weapon in a parking lot. I refuse to think there are venues that others can gig at but I can’t. Yes, I may choose not to gig there, but I refuse to let others blame the victim when something like this happens.
Now that I’m not so young, I’m probably not as unsafe as I once was as far as being sexually assaulted goes, but today I walked into a venue and saw a giant American flag and no one else wearing a mask and thought, “Oh crap, why is everyone looking at me?”
This post is meandering a bit. Is it about the political divide? Toxic masculinity? Unconscious bias and economic inequality? It’s a mashup, I guess. It’s all connected.
I may as well meander some more. The wonderful jazz bassist and guitarist who were performing at the venue I went to today asked if I had my horn with me, so I ran to my car and came back and took a solo on Tenor Madness. My first time playing with other people in over 16 months. I was so nervous I sort of stumbled on my way back to my chair afterward, but I didn’t totally embarrass myself with my blues, so it was pretty amazing. Here’s hoping we don’t have to shut down again, because it was indescribable not playing with other people for 16 months. Oh, also, I haven’t announced on this blog that during the shutdown I applied at our local junior college and was accepted into their adjunct faculty pool as an applied trombone teacher! Yay me!
Anyway, back to my attempt to make a point. Don’t accept the idea that there can be places that are unsafe for some. You don’t have to start a crusade, but maybe don’t make your argument that a band should know better than to book their non macho selves at certain places. What’s a nice girl like me doing in a place like this? Oh, just a little crusading.