What’s new

While we were marching in the 2023 Toronto Pride Parade, we walked and talked with outACTRAto and ACTRA Toronto Members about the importance of 2SLGBTQIA+ visibility, representation, identity and more.

ACTRA Toronto Councillor Martha Chaves speaks with Becky Ablack about why visibility is important for Martha’s comedy and acting.
Becky Ablack chats with Em McCourt about the problematic language used in casting and character breakdowns (see ACTRA Toronto’s Working with Queer Performers guide for best practices for casting calls and breakdown).
Kato Alexander speaks with Becky Ablack about the value of ACTRA Toronto’s #outACTRAto committee and how creating one’s own content allows you to be seen in a different light.

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.


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. Following our practice in ACTRA Toronto’s industry guideline for Working With Queer Performers 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 the publication of the Working With Queer Performers guideline, Pride Toronto used the acronym LGBT2Q+, CAEA used LGBTQ, SAG/AFTRA used LGBT, The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity used 2SLGBTQIA+ and the word ‘queer’, Egale, a Canadian queer human rights organization, used LGBTQI2S and The Government of Canada used LGBTQ2. Adding “+” at the end of an acronym has typically been used to signify: “including all others.”

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.


Madelaine Rose

Madelaine Rose (she/her) is a Toronto-based performer, producer and member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to be a queer performer in this industry. I also know firsthand what it’s like to be a producer creating queer content, by and for queer folks. I know the joy it can bring to walk onto a set and see that you are not the only queer person in the room or the validation that can come from seeing yourself represented on screen.

I am a passionate advocate for queer representation within the arts industry, and I have been an active member of OutACTRA for the past few years. I’ve had the pleasure of participating in various OutACTRA run initiatives such as Working the Scene in Rainbow, Queer Your Stories and working alongside the Social Media subcommittee.

I have watched the previous chairs, Jo Vannicola, Matt Lemche, and Thalia Gonzalez lead this committee with grace, passion, and integrity and I look forward to continuing their work as OutACTRA Co-Chair.”

Matt Lemche

Matt Lemche (he/him) 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 Madeleine Rose.

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.


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.
outACTRAto Founding Chair Jo 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.

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


Working the Scene in Rainbow is a live virtual scene-reading session, featuring works by 2SLGBTQIA+ Ontario-based scriptwriters.
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.
Something’s Phishy is the winner of the 5th annual Queer Your Stories short film competition (QYS5).

Social mixers

August 29, 2022
June 9, 2021

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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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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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!

  • 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.