Ambassador Q&A: Forte Bagshay
White Ribbon Ambassador Forté speaks about the significance of the White Ribbon message in recognizing the positive role men play in preventing men’s violence against women.
What is your day job?
I am a musician (singer, songwriter, and guitarist) and a secondary Science teacher. I ceremonially changed my name to Forté in 2012 to mark a new phase of my life and to represent personal strength and individuality.
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
I officially received my Ambassador pin at the Adelaide White Ribbon Breakfast on White Ribbon Day last year (2015). I had the honour and privilege of opening the event by performing my song, “Active Peace” to the 1200 strong audience which included the inspirational Rosie Batty.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
I want to leave a legacy and make a positive difference in the world. I feel a deep sense of purpose to help protect the more vulnerable members of our society. A few years ago I befriended a young woman who I later found out had been sexually assaulted. Seeing the impact of the attack deeply moved me and I decided I wanted to support men to choose nonviolence. White Ribbon’s values align with my sense of purpose and it creates a support network around me as I strive to promote respectful relationships.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
I wrote “Active Peace” for White Ribbon and released it on my debut album, “Conduit”. I have played this song at many White Ribbon events including the Adelaide White Ribbon Breakfast, The Butterfly Walk for Nonviolence and Community Voice to End Gender Violence.
I recently contacted local schools to encourage them to take part in the Breaking the Silence program. This led to an extra six schools signing on. I have also formally spoken with high school groups about gendered violence on numerous occasions.
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
Being raised by a feminist mother, I acknowledge male privilege and know that education will help achieve gender equality. Gender inequality reduces women’s capacity to live open-heartedly and this is limiting for all people in our community. I want to live in a world free of violence where authentic people treat each other with compassion and respect.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
I’m planning a musical event in Adelaide for early November to showcase musicians interested in social change and to raise funds and awareness for White Ribbon in the lead up to White Ribbon Day on the 25th.
I’ll also be creating a schools program to help young people have respectful relationships and express themselves authentically and creatively. Making myself available to young people as a mentor will support them should they show interest in becoming White Ribbon Ambassadors.
As well as continuing to take musical and educational opportunities to promote the values of authenticity mindfulness and compassion, I will be the change I wish to see and celebrate the successes of this important movement.