Meet Canadian Office Operations Manager and Chair of the Pride Committee, Nate Richmond. Richmond has been a member of both Locals 411 and 667 in Toronto, Canada. He represents the IATSE on the Canadian Labour Congress’ (CLC’s) Solidarity and Pride Working Group. With a background in film, Nate has worked in the camera department at both William F. Whites and Panavision, and then in the production office as an IA member.
Since joining the IA in 2009, Nate says he noticed at the time there was no one specifically tackling LGBTQ+ matters in the Canadian Department, so he decided to start off small. “I don’t have a specific background in LGBTQ+ activism. I’m a union member, who happens to be gay, who wants to help fight for equity for LGBTQ+ workers,” he explained.
“I registered the IA in the Toronto Pride Parade, created the first IATSE pride shirts at the International level and began to include short, basic educational topics in my Canadian Convention reports. President Loeb recognized the importance of these types of initiatives and appointed me and four other members who were also doing the work independently to form the IATSE’s very first International Pride Committee.”
Richmond expressed that it has been an honour to serve with his IA Kin on the Pride committee and he hopes to do so with them for as long as possible. “My goal is to make the information accessible, entertaining, and relevant. I try to give concrete, bite-size tasks that anyone can do,” he added. “I think one of the easiest and most accessible ways to promote LGBTQ+ activism is to take existing structures and view them through an LGBTQ+ lens.”
Nate says he adopted the idea of promoting LGBTQ+ activism in the same way that as a union, we promote worker safety. “I took this idea and used it to launch IATSE condoms as swag, to show that safety isn’t just OSHA violations, but that there are many diverse ways to promote safety,” he added.
“And if you can do it in an entertaining way, that always helps get the message out there! I want everyone to know that when it comes to supporting your LGBTQ+ kin, you don’t have to be an expert. You just need an open mind, an open heart, and the willingness to learn.”