I’m a gay, married, 32-year old former opera singer living in New York City. There’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time. All of Hollywood, and much of the country, is talking about Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long history of sexual assault. After years of ignoring rumors, and silencing women who came forward, the media and the movie industry are finally taking it seriously.
It’s time for the opera world to also look at its own epidemic of sexual harassment and assault. As much as there is to say about what women go through, I’m starting from the gay perspective because it’s what I know. The first time it happened, I was at a patron dinner, seated next to the donor who was funding my presence there. He touched me knee inappropriately a few times, before leaning over during the salad course and whispering in my ear “[the General Director] said you were a cute one.” I pushed him away, high tailed it for the bar, and didn’t return until dessert.
I innocently never expected it to happen again. But then there was the conductor who friended me on FB with a message promising a gig, but quickly pushed that aside in favor of descriptions of his prowess in bed that would appear in my inbox once a month for the next year or so. There was the up-and-coming composer whose work I premiered, and whose penis would subsequently appear in text messages sent at 2am, shrouded in a metal Chastity cage and accompanied by the words “hello, sir.”
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