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The outACTRAto Committee is dedicated to raising awareness about LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ performers. We aspire to educate and inform our industry about realistic LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ onscreen visibility of our culture and our stories, and to realize change in our industry.

If you feel like writing to us, please do so!  lgbtq@actratoronto.com

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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

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!”

Working with Queer Performers

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

The winner of this year’s Queer Your Stories: Short Film Competition is Lovina Yavari and Onna Chan’s Red String of Fate.

Read more…

Queer in the Biz

outACTRAto 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


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outACTRAto Chair

 Joanne Vannicola “Joanne Vannicola is a feminist, writer, director, and Emmy award-winning actor, Genie, Gemini and ACTRA award nominee. She is the chair of the new outACTRAto Committee, and dedicated to equity on and off the screen. She is 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. ”