I talked with Marlee Walchuk, co-producer of the second annual RightOutTV Music and Video Awards for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex artists. This is an extraordinary opportunity for LGBT musical artists worldwide. The competition is open for submissions of songs and videos to be evaluated by a prestigious panel of entertainment-industry judges. LGBT singer/songwriters from around the world can submit songs as well as music videos in a variety of indie-friendly categories, such as "Best Video (Do It Yourself)" for the more homegrown project, and "Best Song So Far" for those masterpieces written years ago that still deserve recognition. There's even a "Best 'Living Room' Performance" category to fit the growing trend of artists not wanting to wait for the funding to produce and release big-budget videos.
"Our goal this year is to give more artists at every level a chance to compete and get noticed," says Marlee. "It's the artists' talent and creativity that are being judged, not just the quality of their productions and recordings."
The RightOutTV Music and Video Awards is an offshoot of RightOutTV.com, a free promotional site for LGBT artists. It is based in Canada, which, in 2005, became the fourth country to pass marriage equality. Marlee and her wife Tully Callender (of the music duo Sugarbeach) launched RightOutTV in November 2010 after realizing that there were few places to release their own LGBT-messaged music videos. RightOutTV provides a fully developed promotional website and streaming channel for artists who deserve more credit for being out and proud with their music.
I talked with Marlee about the RightOutTV Music and Video Awards and issues facing our LGBT community. When asked her thoughts about LGBT equality in America, she stated:
I have to admit I did expect to see progress sooner than this. I love the U.S. I have always loved the U.S. I love going there. There's something about that country that has a vibe and an energy to it that I just don't see in other places. I have tons of faith that a country that was founded on "liberty and justice for all" will soon realize that also includes their LGBT population. What I haven't understood is why there's so much resistance. I mean, here we are in Canada -- I don't know how may countries have passed gay marriage, but it's a significant amount, and not one of those countries, or even the states that have allowed gay marriage, has suffered or collapsed in any way. I just don't understand why they're resisting, when you just look around and realize that all these ridiculous predictions or derogations and all these things that are going to happen ... they've never come true anywhere. I understand there are religious reasons that people are holding on to, but really, it's tough for us. Obviously, we're being able to marry here in Canada; we feel quite safe here. It does feel different when we go into the States and when we play Pride festivals down there. We do feel different walking the streets, and we just can't wait to see that start to change. I do believe that a major transformation will happen if Obama gets in. So we are rooting for all of you and just hoping that things go the way they are suppose to be going.
The deadline for submissions to the RightOutTV Music and Video Awards is Sept. 24, 2012, and nominees will be announced Oct. 11, 2012. The popular "Fan Fave" voting also begins Oct. 11th. For more information, visit RightOutTVAwards.com.
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