Out Boulder County educates, advocates and provides services, programs and support for Boulder County's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer communities. They are a truly community-driven organization, with over 150 active colunteers. Throughout the year, they host events, bring together diverse communities, and help frequently marginalized people find the support, resources, and community they need.
Jodi McCall is the President of their Board of Directors, and is a founding Partner of Martin Law Office LLC, where she focuses on legal matters impacting the LGBTQ community, their allies, and individuals impacted by HIV. Read on to learn more about her work with the LGBTQ community in the Boulder area, and what message she finds in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony!
What music do you like to listen to?
I prefer music with a meaning – I pay attention to the lyrics and interpret the music through that lens. You can also go beyond the lyrics, though, and just hear the music, and you can really get a sense of meaning. I like the Indigo Girls, some country music, and symphonies. I just went to the CU Symphony and Indigo Girls concer. We sat near the top, and could look out over entire hall. It's a pretty diverse group of people from Boulder, and with the Indigo Girls, there were lots of LGBTQ people. It was such a diverse community: plenty of same-sex couples, single folks, straight folks. Everyone was singing, lip synching, moving in their seat. Everyone was smiling, happy, and in the moment. Music is a way to come back and feel grounded, and to express who you are.
What’s your favorite piece by Beethoven?
I love the 5th. It just draws you in with the powerful start – dun dun dun DUNNNNNN. When they start it, it stops you, and you start paying attention. I also like that the 5th and 9th symphonies are part of daily life – you hear them in church, in movies, in commercials and different contexts.
What message do you take from the Ode to Joy?
It’s this message that we all belong, not just some, but all of us. So many different voices are involved, from instruments to vocalists. Our music is more powerful when all the voices of the multitude come together, and together we’re stronger.
How does that apply to the present day?
There's a reference in the words to "what custom has kept apart." In Beethoven's time period, he was probably referring to classes, but in the context of the Unity Concert, it rings true for the LGBTQ community. Custom has kept many in the closet, and kept families from being recognized. By finding joy in ourselves, and being out and proud, we've moved our world forward. While we still have many struggles, I think the piece touches on the fact that everything isn't perfect, but the magic of our joy is that we're able to continue moving forward through finding our own voices and uniting in joy.
What about Out Boulder? How does music relate to your community there?
Music has a deep connection for many people and many groups. For the LGBTQ community, the music connection runs deep. Many people have used music as an outlet for emotions, identity, and their voices. You can look at known musicians who have performed both in and out of the closet. I think musicians who are both known and unknown – for example, a kid who comes home from school - they're writing lyrics as a way to express themselves and give themselves a voice. Even if it's unknown to the world, it's a way to express themselves.
Our community has historically found music venues, like gay dance clubs, to be safe spaces. It's a place to express yourself without fear of judgement. There's not a pride fest that's complete without a dance party. Whether you're still in the closet or out and proud, when you can walk into a dance party, you're in a safe space. Ideally, it's a place where you can just be you, and feel safe. Music is a huge part for our community.