A set of best practice guidelines for working with LGBT+ performers has been launched by Equity.
The guide aims to help address a “lack of representation of the LGBT+ community in the arts in general, and of the trans community in particular”.
Guidelines span the entire process of creating a production, from before casting and during the audition period to the workplace.
Key recommendations include:
• Considering engaging a script consultant, someone who has experience of working with trans people, or someone who identifies as trans themselves before the casting process begins.
• Giving quality information about the character that is more than just their gender or sexual identity in a casting breakdown.
• To remember that LGBT+ actors are as diverse as cis actors – and not forget about people of colour and those with disabilities when casting LGBT+ roles.
• To find out which pronouns the performer uses by asking the agent or performer beforehand.
• Consider casting in a venue with good access, street-lighting and footfall, as transgender people can easily become the victims of transphobia and hate crime.
• Provide gender-neutral toilets in casting venues and work places.
• During the job, consider the safety of trans performers travelling home at night and consider a buddy system or using taxis.
Equity’s LGBT+ Committee has put together the guide in in collaboration with All About Trans and Spotlight.
The guide also includes lists of questions that are appropriate to ask LGBT+ performers – such as “would you play cisgender roles” and “which dressing room would you like to use”, as well as a list of things not to say.
There is also a glossary of LBGT+ terms within the guide.
LGBT+ committee member Tigger Blaize said: “It’s designed to be a toolkit of ideas, encouraging industry professionals to feel confident in approaching performers who identify as LGBT+, if they were previously unsure.”