The 18th Tribeca film festival marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with a one day event, Tribeca Celebrates Pride. The packed day of programming included a diverse range of fascinating panel discussions and interviews with notable LGBTQ+ figures and allies, plus screenings of LGBTQ+ related short films and the world premiere of HBO Wigstock documentary Wig.
Throughout the day the audience listened to themed discussions about the entertainment industry and beyond, such as Out on Screen, Out in Sports and Out in Office featuring panelists from each field.
In an inspiring and passionate speech, Asia Kate Dillon called for more diverse recruitment and casting within the entertainment industry: “when it comes to casting it’s about broadening and exhausting your search, and we have to broaden our conversations and our understanding around the reasons why social, political, economic, it has been historically more difficult for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, especially those of colour, to get access to jobs, let alone auditions in the entertainment industry. Trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people face higher rates of bullying, depression, anxiety and suicide, as well as higher rates of workplace and housing discrimination. Why? Because of the longstanding, continued and purposeful targeting of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people in this country.”
They continued, “if you are a non-trans person, who benefits from the invention of whiteness and white supremacy and you’ve got a script, attempting to tell the story of a trans woman of colour and her journey to becoming a doctor, you must exhaust your search to find a trans woman of colour talented enough to play that role. Most likely you’ll find one. And if you’ve exhausted your search and you can’t find a trans woman of colour talented enough to play the role, then you’d better find one, at least one, to help consult on the project, write the project, produce the project, direct the project, and that woman, those women, need to give you permission to cast a non-trans actor, if that person is the best actor for the role, because those women see that you have exhausted your search. Otherwise, by not including the voices of those whose stories you are attempting to tell you are just an outsider guessing at a life experience.”
You can watch their full speech here.
Other highlights of the day included a conversation about LGBTQ+ representation in Hollywood, with panelists Simon Halls, Kevin Huvane, and Joe Machota, who discussed TV being ahead of film in terms of representation. Each speaker shared their admiration for Ryan Murphy. On the success of Pose, Kevin Huvane said, “it wouldn’t have been done if it wasn’t Ryan Murphy.”
Congratulations to the Tribeca team on staging such an inclusive, empowering and thought-provoking day of LGBTQ+ programming, we hope that it will become a regular part of the annual festival.