Exploring Gender, Expanding Music Scholarship with Destinee Siebe

In this episode of Orchestrating Change, we discussed issues of gender, sexuality, and representation through the lens of musicology. Destinee Siebe shared their own journey of self-discovery and how that has impacted their research and view of the history of classical music. How does diverse representation affect a listener? Where has diverse representation been present in music history and ignored and how do we commit to authentic representation in the future of classical music? All that and more, this week on Orchestrating Change. 

Destinee Siebe

Destinee N. Siebe (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) is a student musicologist, set to complete the Historical Musicology M.A. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in spring 2021. She is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, where she majored in Music History & Literature and studied bassoon with Mr. Jonathan Sherwin. In addition to her work with the Canton Symphony Orchestra this season, she has also been an invited speaker at graduate student conferences in the U.S. and Canada, as well as for events sponsored by the Baldwin Wallace Friends of the Conservatory organization. Her research interests are best described as “all things 20th and 21st century United States,” ranging from feminist archive strategies and understudied women composers, to the 21st century wind ensemble’s responses to tragedies and violence. 

Important Definitions

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity or expression (masculine, feminine, other) is different from their sex (male, female) at birth. Gender identity refers to one’s internal understanding of one’s own gender, or the gender with which a person identifies. Gender expression is a term used to describe people’s outward presentation of their gender.

Gender identity and sexual orientation are different facets of identity. Everyone has a gender identity and a sexual orientation, but a person’s gender does not determine a person’s sexual orientation. Transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or none of the above.


Non-binary or genderqueer is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella, since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from their assigned sex.

Gender is your internal sense of self, who you feel you are whether that’s male, female or perhaps you don’t feel strongly to any particular label about gender. Gender is often linked to ideas of masculinity, femininity, stereotypes etc. Your gender can be expressed in a number of ways, some common examples include clothing, behaviour and pronouns.

If your gender is the same as you were assigned at birth, this is known as cisgender (or cis for short). If you feel your gender is different to the one you were assigned at birth you may identify as trans or non-binary.

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