Gay and Lesbian choruses began forming over 35 years ago. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the first with “gay” in its title, was founded in 1978 (the Stonewall Chorale of New York City was founded in 1977) and from this foundation we continue to grow both nationally and internationally. Many gay men’s choruses across the country, some founded in the days of “gay liberation” but most founded later, now include the word “gay” in their titles. There are at least 58 of them in the United States, who are members (like us) of the international gay chorus group, GALA Choruses (for Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses).
The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus was established with the intent of building friendships, supportive relationships, and making music within a safe and comfortable space. Our chorus, like most GLBTQ choruses throughout the country, also has straight members and alliances; we are not exclusive, but rather very inclusive. We are simply attempting to create a community of acceptance, respect, and love for all. NMGMC is not solely a performing arts organization; we are also a community organization, serving a community which still needs its own sources of pride in order to resist lingering disapproval.
The reason we use the word “gay” is twofold. First, we use the word because we are in no way ashamed of it. We are proud of who and what we are, and we support that all individuals take pride in themselves. Second, we use this word to identify ourselves as a chorus that is affirmative to people who are non-exclusively heterosexual (in other words not straight). Our name lets people know that they are likely to hear music supportive of gay life and culture, which is not a random subset of all chorus music.
The experience of being in the NMGMC is absolutely amazing. We have great love for each other and truly enjoy the process of making music. We are inspired to continue sharing this universal experience with our audience and hold to our mission statement, “Changing the World through Music.”