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.



ACTRA Toronto OUTACTRAto CommitteeWelcome to the first LGBTQ+ committee in our union! We started outACTRAto because many of us have needed and wished for a place to connect, have wished for change, outreach, and storytelling in film and television that reflected LGBTQ+ lives with full and rich characters for our membership.

For too long, we have been in the margins and we believe it is time to advocate, educate, and organize.

We hope that our work can help change the culture.





We have number of initiatives for the upcoming year!

  1. spread awareness among the membership
  2. education and outreach re: casting, writers, directors, producers and agents
  3. raise our profile for Pride and the community
  4. organize for fall conference re: LGBTQ+ panel and more




News & Events

outACTRAto Guidelines for 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 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




ACTRA Toronto LGBTQ+ Questionnaire

We would like to know more about our membership. Things like…

  • Who are we as LBGTQ+ performers?
  • What have we experienced?
  • What are our goals?
  • Are we working?
  • How do we identify re: gender and sexuality?
  • If we are in the closet still, what would make it feel safer to come out?
  • How are we seen?
  • How do we wish to be seen?
  • …etc.

You can help us better represent our community to ACTRA Toronto, ACTRA National and to the Canadian entertainment industry by taking a moment to fill out our ACTRA Toronto LGBTQ+ Questionnaire on Survey Monkey.

Discretion Assured!

NOTE: The ACTRA Toronto LGBTQ+ Questionnaire is anonymous and confidential and all information collected will remain that way. The goal is not to out people but to learn as much as we can about our LGBTQ+ membership so we can decide how to advocate for change within ACTRA, our industry and our culture to improve working conditions for queer performers. The more participants, the better!

Take the ACTRA Toronto LGBTQ+ Questionnaire




Contact Us

Drop us a line

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

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Add your name to our outACTRAto Contact list

  • 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.




outACTRAto Chair

Joanne Vannicola Headshot
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. ”


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