LGBT - Details

06.09.2016

Acting for Diversity: a common goal for FIA members

Talent, and only talent, must be the paramount reason for a performer’s engagement. And yet, too many performers today are discriminated against for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to play a role. Gender, sexual orientation and identity, ethnic origin, age, disability and sometimes a combination of these factors, directly or indirectly, affect performers' access to work, to diverse and non-stereotyped roles, as well as levels of pay.

FIA has decided to make diversity the central theme of its 21st Congress. In doing so, we wish to raise awareness among our wider membership about the need to promote equal opportunities in the workplace for all performers without distinction and to oppose any discrimination that may still negatively affect their employment as well as terms and conditions of engagement. The Congress will give us the opportunity to address these issues, in particular during the “Diversity and inclusion” Panel discussion on Thursday 22 September, where the results of LGBT survey carried out this year among FIA members will be presented.

Many FIA members have come to realize that discrimination has many facets and colours and are actively campaigning for inclusion, equality and diversity in our industry for their members. They have set an example for the societies around them, empowering their membership to speak with confidence and carry the diversity flag for the many others who still fear exposure. They have created equality committees to promote inclusive policies and good practices; are encouraging diverse leaderships to run their operations; are publicly campaigning for equal opportunities for all and work environments free from bullying and harassment.

Among recent initiatives, we would like to share two great reads with you in preparation of our upcoming Congress. Play Fair is Equity UK’s new campaign to challenge the industry on the persistent under-representation of diversity, and discriminatory practice in the casting process. For the autumn edition of the Equity Magazine, the union’s four equality committees have joined together to back Play Fair and a member of each of these groups features on the four different covers. These are Giovanni Bienne, chair, LGBT committee, Somi De Souza, vice chair, Minority Ethnic Members committee, Phoebe Kemp, chair, Deaf and Disabled Members committee and Flip Webster, chair, Women’s committee. The full story is available here: http://www.equity.org.uk/documents/equity-autumn-magazine-2016/

In the United-States, the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) has published a special issue of their News magazine entirely dedicated to the theme of diversity. AEA Executive Director, Mary McColl, states in her editorial that “Our members come in all shapes and sizes, with glorious talents that differ one from the other. Our members come from all ethnicities and backgrounds and gender identities. They come from all religions and many countries of the world. All of you, every member has the right to access to work. Our audiences are the same. They deserve to see theatre that is relevant to them and that reflects the community in which they live.” The AEA News magazine is available here: http://www.actorsequity.org/docs/news/en_04_2016.pdf

All resources for the FIA 21st Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil, are available on the dedicated website: www.fia21congress.com