Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen announced today that they are partnering with Anthony Meindl and his highly regarded acting workshop. 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. Details of this program is currently being constructed and the projected launch of submissions is in early fall 2018. “With mainstream movies continuing to cast straight actors to play trans roles, it is clear that Hollywood is ignoring the message: trans roles should be portrayed by trans actors. This helps to ensure authentic depictions of trans folks reflective of their rich, nuanced lives,” commented Christopher Racster. “Pose, a prime time show on a major network, single handily proves how important it is that trans people portray themselves. It’s success and renewal underlines this and makes it fact.” “We need more trans actors to assure that when a trans character is created, there is a trans actor to fill that role. Outfest wants to do what we can to leverage our position and connections to be a part of the solution. As such, Outfest and Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop have partnered to provide fellowships to five trans or non-binary actors. The goal is to not only provide free training, but to assure that the fellows have a safe, affirming space in which to develop their talent. Outfest is focusing on building a pipeline of LGBTQ creative talent not just behind the camera, but now in front of the camera,” Racster stated. For 20 years Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop has not only been at the forefront of a new philosophy of acting training, but also creating a worldwide community based on consciousness, human rights, self-awareness and using acting as a powerful social and political voice. Mr. Meindl commented, “as a queer artist, I'm thrilled to be working with actors of varying backgrounds and experiences to enrich our cultural understanding of not only what it means to be an artist today but a human being. Period. Great artistry mirrors back to society the universality of being alive, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation or identification. I can't wait to tell stories with other activists who realize that authentic power comes in telling our stories.” Commenting on this partnership, non-binary Latinx actor, playwright and activist Ser Anzoategui said “we’re aware of the staggering unemployment rates in the transgender community being three times higher than what cis gendered people face. In order to ignite the steps forward to achieving being in the room, transgender actors need access to the resources that can actually make them competitive. It is of utter importance that we support up and coming trans and non-binary actors and actresses in a way that bridges the gap regularly faced. Providing scholarships for acting classes is a much needed resource for our transgender artists and we need to keep pushing the movement forward to create actual change in the stories and characters portrayed in Hollywood.” Trans actor, comedian and activist, Ian Harvie also remarked that "representation is factually life-saving. 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. And in today’s climate of social justice, we need to feel like we exist. There are a lot of trans* people who would love to embark on an artistic career in acting, but there are often significant barriers to achieving this, specifically safety and financial - I know, I was one of those craving artists, and didn’t know where I fit in. With a program like this one through Outfest and Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop, I can only imagine how having a clear pathway and being given the tools and training to become an actor, would help elevate one’s spirit, career, and opportunities in booking an industry job." For more information on the Outfest Anthony Meindl Actors Fellowship please visit: https://www.outfest.org/actorsfellowship.