Who We Are

The outACTRAto Committee is dedicated to raising awareness about queer* performers, our stories and our place in the industry and society. We value diversity and equality and we aim to be recognized, supported and valued as queer performers. We aspire to educate and inform our industry about realistic queer representation on screen as we seek a more accurate and balanced reflection of our rich and multifaceted community. We denounce and will work to end harassment and stereotyping of any kind. We will work to achieve true-to-life queer onscreen visibility of our culture and our stories, and to realize change in our industry.

*queer

Historically a pejorative term, the word “queer” has been reclaimed by some gender and sexually diverse communities as a term of pride and affirmation of their diversity. It can be used to encompass a broad spectrum of identities related to sex, gender, and attraction or by an individual to reflect the interrelatedness of these aspects of their identity. For the purpose of these guidelines and in an effort not to exclude any group, we have chosen to use the word “queer” in lieu of an acronym.Acronyms, identifications and definitions are dynamic and constantly changing. There is no standard acronym used by organizations to reflect gender and sexual identities. For example, as of this publication, Pride Toronto uses the acronym LGBT2Q+, CAEA uses LGBTQ, SAG/AFTRA uses LGBT, The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity uses 2SLGBTQIA+ and the word ‘queer’, Egale, a Canadian queer human rights organization, uses LGBTQI2S and The Government of Canada uses LGBTQ2. Adding “+” at the end of an acronym has typically been used to signify: “including all others.”


Co-Chairs

Thalia Gonzalez Kane

Thalia (she/her) is a queer, Ecuadorian-Canadian, multidisciplinary artist. She has been an ACTRA member since 2020. 

“I’ve been inspired by what the outACTRA committee has accomplished in just a few years and how fiercely its founder, Jo Vannicola led and advocated. I’m looking forward to working with the committee alongside Matt through education, advocacy, building the community and shining a spotlight on the work and performances of 2SLGBTQIA+ artists. 

 
Matt Lemche

Matt Lemche is a queer performer and filmmaker and is passionate about uplifting 2SLGBTQIA+ creativity. He has been an ACTRA member since 1996 and features in over 40 productions. Since 2007, he has been a member of the award-winning sketch comedy collective, Elephant Empire. Matt is proud and delighted to co-chair the outACTRAto Committee with Thalia Gonzalez Kane. He is committed to recognizing the intersectional nature of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and doing the work to bring equitable initiatives to the ACTRA membership and the industry at large.

 

Queer Your Stories: PSA

Published in November 2019, outACTRAto’s Queer Your Stories PSA makes an eloquent case for inclusion and authenticity. “It’s time!”


Queer in the Biz

outACTRAto Founding Chair Joanne Vannicola’s article, “Queer in the Biz”, printed in the FAll 2013 issue of Performers Magazine is still a great introduction to the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ performers.

Since Ellen’s trailblazing episode when she announced she was gay, there have been more shows with LGBTQ roles: Queer As Folk, Bomb Girls, The L Word, Being Erica, Modern Family, and The New Normal, to name a few.

However it wasn’t until the mid-90s that television started to put a face to queer characters (often played by straight actors) and, since then, it has only really scratched the surface.

As an actor who is out, I have managed to work and maintain a career. I’ve won an Emmy and been nominated for Genie, Gemini, and ACTRA awards, but the truth is: I don’t easily pass as heterosexual. That doesn’t upset me. What does concern me is the lack of storytelling from an LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer) perspective and the lack of roles for gender non-conforming talent.

The question remains: how can we encourage a paradigm shift in our industry, where diverse and multidimensional storytelling becomes the norm and people of all genders, sexualities, races and abilities are equitably represented in the stories that are told?

…READ MORE

Joanne Vannicola “Joanne Vannicola is a feminist, writer, director, and Emmy award-winning actor, Genie, Gemini and ACTRA award nominee. They were the founding chair of the new outACTRAto Committee, and dedicated to equity on and off the screen. They are committed to educating the industry around LGBTQ lives, performers, and the advancement and inclusion of our stories, with fair and real representation of LGBTQ lives. ”


CONNECT WITH US

Email Us

Have questions or ideas? Please email us at: lgbtq@actratoronto.com

Subscribe to outACTRAto’s News & Events Mailing List

Whether you’re a performer, an ACTRA Toronto member, a Toronto filmworker, part of the Toronto queer community or a respectful ally, use the subscription form below to receive announcements of upcoming outACTRAto events and projects.

Join Us!

If you are a queer ACTRA Toronto member with some time and energy to volunteer, please fill out and submit the Contact Information Form below. Work with us to make more work opportunities for all of us!

Social Media

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INITIATIVES

outACTRAto initiatives are designed to:

  1. spread awareness among the membership
  2. educate and reach out to casting, writers, directors, producers and agents
  3. raise our profile for Pride and the community

Social Mixers

Our OUT in the Park mixer was held in Bickford Park on Monday on August 29, 2022.

outACTRAto presents The Rainbow Zoom Social Mixer on June 9th at 7 p.m. on Zoom

outACTRAto’s latest fun and fabulous Rainbow Zoom Social Mixer event was held online on June 9th 2021.

Don’t miss the next outACTRAto Social Mixer. Subscribe now to outACTRAto using the embedded form on this web page.


Working the Scene in Rainbow

outACTRAto proudly presents the second annual Working the Scene in Rainbow event on June 15, 2022 at 7:00 PM (EST).

Working the Scene in Rainbow is a live Zoom scene-reading session, featuring works by queer Ontario-based scriptwriters.

Working the Scene in Rainbow is a place for writers to hear their work read aloud by professional actors and to network with an audience of industry members.

Actor/readers are cast from within the ACTRA Toronto membership and the sessions are open to industry partners, friends and all ACTRA members in good standing.

Don’t miss the next Working the Scene in Rainbow event on June 15th. Mark your calendar and register today!


Working with Queer Performers Guideline

INTRODUCING ACTRA Toronto’s industry guideline for Working With Queer Performers. This document lays out best practices for representing, casting, writing for, hiring and working with queer performers. From How to be an Ally  to What NOT to ask Queer Performers, this dynamic document strives to answer your questions while remaining adaptable in our ever-evolving times.


Queer Your Stories: Short Film Competition

Presented in partnership with the Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBT+ Film Festival, the annual Queer Your Stories: Short Film Competition is open to queer ACTRA Toronto members interested in producing a short film.

QYS4 SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED

Deadline for submissions was November 20, 2022 at 11:59pm EST.

outACTRAto is pleased to partner again with the Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival on our 4th annual Queer Your Stories: Short Film Competition, QYS4. Winners receive financial and in-kind production support and a screening at the 2023 Inside Out toronto 2SLGBT+ Film Festival. Queer ACTRA Toronto members interested in producing a short film are encouraged to apply.

For more information, check out our Queer Your Stories: Short Film Competetition Page.


QYS3 WINNER

Save the Date was the winner of the 3rd annual Queer Your Stories short film competition (QYS3).

READ THE PRESS RELEASE…

Click the image for more information about Save the Date


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Stay informed about ACTRA Toronto’s Queer Advocacy and initiatives

Whether you’re a performer, an ACTRA Toronto member, a Toronto filmworker, part of the Toronto queer community or a respectful ally, use the subscription form below to receive announcements of upcoming outACTRAto events and projects.

NOTE: Some of our events are for ACTRA Toronto Members only. If you are an ACTRA Toronto member, make sure to include your ACTRA ID (your ACTRA Toronto Membership number, as it appears on your ACTRA Toronto membership card) in the space provided. If you are not an ACTRA Toronto member, just leave that field blank.

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JOIN THE COMMITTEE

Help us make change in the industry

If you are a queer ACTRA Toronto member with some time and energy to volunteer, please fill out and submit the Contact Information Form below. Work with us to make more work opportunities for all of us!

outACTRAto Contact Information Form

  • Please enter your ACTRA number, as it appears on your ACTRA Toronto Membership Card [e.g., 04-XXXXX, AM-XXXXX or EX-XXXXX]
  • Please enter the telephone number you would like us to use to contact you.
  • Please enter the email address we should use to contact you.
  • Here's a chance to give us a brief (600 characters) overview of your interests, issues, and skills.