ACTRA Toronto renames awards to formally recognize non-conforming artists

·2 min read

TORONTO — ACTRA Toronto says it's renaming some of its awards to be more inclusive of gender non-conforming performers.

The largest chapter of Canada's performers' union says its upcoming awards will formally recognize gender non-conforming artists in both the male and female categories of its voice and screen performance acting honours.

In previous years, the jury handed out trophies for outstanding performance by a male, and outstanding performance by a female.

But for the 2022 awards, the four prize categories for onscreen and voice excellence have been renamed as "outstanding performance — gender non-conforming or female," and "outstanding performance — gender non-conforming or male."

Organizers say gender non-conforming performers can submit to a category based on the gender of the character they play or how they personally identify.

They say gender non-conforming winners will receive a trophy engraved with just the category, such as, "Outstanding Performance — Voice."

The next awards are expected to be handed out in March 2022.

Leadership at ACTRA Toronto says the changes were made in consultation with the chapter's queer committee, outACTRAto.

ACTRA Toronto president David Gale said in a statement Tuesday that a key consideration was to ensure the category names didn't require members to be "outed."

"There is still a great deal of transphobia and homophobia in our industry," said Gale, a member of the queer committee.

"I'm pleased this change provides options and flexibility for gender non-conforming performers. Still, there is much work to be done around creating and casting more queer roles."

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists represents performers in the film, radio, television and new media industries.

The Toronto arm represents more than 15,000 of the union's 27,000 members.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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