Meet five-year Animation Guild, Local 839 member Andy Garner-Flexner. Andy is currently the Art Director for Disney TVA’s The Owl House, serves as the Chair of the QueerTAG Committee along with his Co-Chair Alex Quintas, and he is also a member of the IATSE DEI Committee.
“As Chair of the QT Committee, I and my committee members have introduced proposals to our Local to push for protections and expand our rights and medical coverage for our Queer and Trans members,” he says. “I’ve pushed these proposals by being a member of District 2 in 2021, as well as being a Negotiations Committee member for this year’s contract negotiations with the AMPTP.”
Andy says he’s been a very outspoken leader at Disney TVA against Disney’s inactions during the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” legislations happening in Florida, and that he continues to talk with Disney’s leadership to make sure IATSE members are safe.
“With the help of my amazing committee, we have curated a Discord server for the LGBTQIA+ community who are in or want to break into the animation industry. We currently have over 1,360 people on our server where we offer lectures, resources, education, job opportunities, and community,” Andy says. “Animation is notoriously a cishetero white male space, and it is our goal to hire more diverse people so their stories can be heard—especially those most impacted by systemic and institutional racism, ableism, and cisheteropatriarchy.
He adds that being part of a union family means that he knows he has a community that will have his back when the going gets tough. “I know I have protections when companies are trying to exploit my passion and hard work, and I know I have a community that will fight for me and advocate for my safety in and out of the workplace.”
As a newly appointed member of the IATSE DEI committee, Andy plans to keep fighting to expand Transgender medical treatments and surgeries covered by health insurance plans in the IATSE, train the leadership within the Union, fight for pay equity, and organize members to help strengthen the Union.
In regard to the LGBTQ+ community, Andy states: “Thanks to the brave defiance at Stonewall and countless other uprisings across the country, we are able to celebrate as a community. However, we must always remember that tremendous progress was won through the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears of Queer and Trans people of color.” Andy adds, “It is an honor and our responsibility to stand up for our Black and Brown friends, colleagues, family, and associates as the fight for justice continues. We must never forget the extraordinary sacrifices that were made by these trailblazers who had everything to lose but fought back anyway.”