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Call for submissions - Equal Rights Community talent showcase

Janet Mock and Lavern Cox pose at the 19th Annual Out100 Awards presented by Buick at Terminal 5 on November 14, 2013 in New York City.
Janet Mock and Lavern Cox pose at the 19th Annual Out100 Awards presented by Buick at Terminal 5 on November 14, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Jamie McCarthy

Announcing The ERC Showcase, a regular column featuring artists, actors, models, directors, writers, musicians, DJs, photographers, designers and every type of creative talent from every letter of the IGQBLT* community.

There is a particularly insidious justification that artists in the Equal Rights Community hear again and again when they are told they won't be getting the gig: "We couldn't find the talent."

Perhaps producers really did scour the planet and came up short -- or maybe they didn't. It may be that the casting director really did think they wouldn't be able to find talent with actual life experiences that could authentically fulfill the part they are casting. Maybe the director actually believes there isn't someone out there in the QLTGBI community who has the "look" for the role they envision. On the other hand, perhaps it is just an excuse to rationalize their biases with sweet-sounding lies.

Combatting this mindset is beneficial for everyone. For those hiring talent, it results in portrayals from those who actually are what they want portrayed. The benefit to the artist is also profound: if the shortest route to ending oppression is to create empathy in the oppressor, making an audience understand the sting of it is something the artist is uniquely qualified to do.

This series aims to put the idea of "no suitable talent was available" to the test. Is it a preconception, an excuse? Is it truly so hard to find talent from within the Community? If it is shown that there are literally thousands of people across all artistic disciplines, never again will it be possible for those seeking to fill roles portraying members of the Equal Rights Community to exploit their experience but erase them by stating "we couldn't find anyone".

If you are an writer of transgender experience, an actor who is gay, a sculptor that is intersex, or any kind of creative talent within the Equal Rights Community, or know someone who is, please submit your resume and portfolio to erctalent@outlook.com for consideration.

The series will begin July 15th.

* This writer is adopting a standard when using the "alphabet soup" acronym of randomizing the order of the letters when the term is used, or to use the term "Equal Rights Community", as a reminder that there are those whose oppressions cannot be reduced to a single letter signifying some group. No group always comes first. No group always comes last. It is meant to demonstrate a commitment that all of our individual oppressions are equal, and that we must all rise together -- because if we allow ourselves to be divided we will not rise at all.