Cassandra Liebeknecht, former general manager of Feast Festival (a queer arts event held in Adelaide, Australia), claims she was harassed, spat on, and insulted once her colleagues discovered that she is not herself a member of the LGBTQ community. Congrats, Cassandra, you have now experienced a fraction of the violence and hatred actual queer people face in all situations of our lives on a daily basis!
Snark aside, though, this seriously sucks if it's true: “I’ve been spat on, I’ve had people scare me, I’ve had people contact me at work anonymously, saying ‘I know where your children go to school’,’” Cassandra Liebeknecht says. “There was also a gentleman who continues to this day to slander me for my sexuality.”
“There’s a lot of stuff on Facebook,” she added. “In regards to discrimination, being the general manager of Feast … it has not been easy.”
But wait? What's that? Liebeknecht was being accused of “professional misconduct” allegedly involving the mismanagement of finances at the same time these complaints against her co-workers were levied? How convenient for her!
“I’ve sought legal advice,” she says. “There’s been enough slander against me. I’m very concerned in regards to any further slander. I’m concerned about my future and my family and what this might do to me.”
Feast, meanwhile, is asserting that her suspension has nothing to do with her sexuality: “Feast’s view is–and always has been–that someone’s sexuality or gender should never be discriminated against. We support and celebrate all sexualities and gender identities,” said officials from the festival.
Others in the community are wondering why a straight person was allowed to occupy such a high up position at an organization for and by queers: “For me, the issue is more about, does the person have the knowledge, the trust, the networks and the skills, to engage and represent that community?” Karen Bryant, a lesbian artist, says. LGBTQ organizations “should be doing everything [they] can to ensure that leadership comes from those communities," she added.
Anyway, at the very least this sounds like a cool festival.
[Photo: Getty Images]