ACTRA Toronto stands in solidarity with the courageous and committed writers and creators who in speaking out have effected positive change in our industry. Representation matters. Challenging homophobia matters.
ACTRA Toronto President David Gale comments, “As the first openly queer President of ACTRA Toronto, I know how important it is to feel safe and respected at work. There is much still to be done to promote LGBTQ+ rights, to tell our stories and to be seen on screen. We must work together to challenge and hold accountable our regulators and funders, to require that those who are producing and broadcasting in Canada are upholding the Canadian Human Rights Act in regards to discrimination and harassment, while promoting Canadian values of diversity, equality and inclusivity.”
We all have a responsibility to ensure respectful workplaces and to celebrate our stories and storytellers who reflect our diversity on our screens. And we have a responsibility to speak out when we hear and see practices that undermine respect and dignity.
Change is possible, as we see when people use their voices as creators to courageously call out homophobia and the under and misrepresentation of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour and of people living with disabilities.
Representation matters in writing rooms, behind and in front of the camera and microphones. As Joanne Vannicola, Chair of outACTRAto says about challenging homophobia, “We cannot allow invisibility of queer people. When I tell young queer people that there is an industry for them as actors, it’s because there is and no one should take away their right to be represented or employed as openly gay actors who wish to play LGBTQ+ characters.”
ACTRA Toronto is proud of the continuing work of its Council and committees: outACTRAto, Diversity & Inclusion, TAWC (Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee), AYA (Act Your Age) and YEAA (Young Emerging Actors Assembly who are working to promote equality and systemic change. We encourage members to get involved. And, we encourage members who may need support in dealing with harassment or discrimination to contact the HAVEN Helpline.