Outfest Introduces Actor Fellowship

Outfest is introducing the Anthony Meindl Actors Fellowship: A scholarship program for trans and non-binary actors.

Executive Director of Outfest, Christopher Racster approached Mr. Meindl to start this initiative that will provide five scholarships to trans and non-binary individuals to train at the Actor Workshop. 

While details of the program are still being hashed out, you can sign up now to get updates.

Representation Matters

When The CW announced they were looking for a lesbian actress to play the lesbian character of Batwoman, and went on to cast a trans actress to play a trans character, the LGBTQ+ community took notice. It shouldn’t be this rare, but only 14.6% of queer characters are played by openly queer actors. And only 2% of queer actors who play queer characters are trans.

Let me break this down with math.

Note: Please assume a standard margin of error of 1 to 2%, as all data was collected by hand.

We have 3020 characters at the time of this being written. Of those, 242 characters are trans characters. That means 8.1% of all characters on this site are trans. At the same time, only 55 actors on this site are trans. Even when you take into consideration the fact that trans actors are more likely to play multiple characters over time, they would need to average 4.4 characters apiece to make all our trans characters played by trans actors.

Now the good news is 14.6% of 242 is 35, so assuming that all trans actors play trans characters (which they currently do), 22.7% of all trans characters are played by trans actors. But even if I adjust for assumed human data input errors, I doubt I’d get over 25%. 

The numbers are better for non-binary characters, where 60% are played by non-binary actors (this includes GenderQueer and Gender Fluid).

We Exist

There are some more daunting facts. In the trans community, unemployment rates are three times those of cis people. Even though this scholarship is for only 5 people, it gives us a chance to bridge the gap. We can’t let Pose be the only show that provides complete representation.

As Ian Harvey said, regarding the fellowship, “When we see accurate portrayals of our lives and the story is made with actors that share similar and authentic identities, it makes us feel like we exist.”

If you’re an actor, please apply for this fellowship. Be seen. Show the next person that we exist and inspire them to join you.

I promise, we’re here watching.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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