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Celebrity Panelists Kick Off New York Meeting of
AFTRA National LGBT and Allies Committee

April 16 panel will explore challenges facing LGBT performers and broadcasters

NEW YORK (April 9, 2007) --Following the success of the first AFTRA National LGBT and Allies Committee panel discussion in Los Angeles on March 26 that featured attorney Gloria Allred, writer Bruce Vilanch, and broadcaster Steve Kmetko, a panel of celebrity experts has been assembled in New York to discuss the challenges to equality and dignity facing performers in the entertainment and broadcast news industries who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender at the second meeting of the AFTRA National LGBT and Allies Committee set for April 16.

"After a successful Los Angeles event, and hearing from numerous LGBT members on the east coast, our next meeting will be in New York," said Robin Tyler, AFTRA LGBT and Allies Committee Chairperson. "AFTRA has proven to be an industry leader, and we feel the time to continue this leadership is now." 

The panel of AFTRA members includes AFTRA LGBT Committee Chairperson, activist, and out comic Robin Tyler; Emmy Award-winning television and stage actress and comedian Judy Gold; celebrated television comedian and regular NY comedy club performer Eddie Sarfaty; and actor and entertainment correspondent/producer for CBS News on LOGO Triple Edwards. Eric Hegedus, president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association will also sit on the panel. A question and answer session will follow.

The meeting and panel discussion is set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 16, in the Eddie Cantor Boardroom at the AFTRA New York Local, 260 Madison Avenue, 7th Floor, New York 10016. A 6:30 p.m. reception will precede the event.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has been a leader in LGBT rights for over 10 years through its domestic partner health and COBRA benefits, as well as its longtime partnership with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. This new committee is the next step in a long tradition of providing AFTRA members opportunities to address inequities and create solutions with industry partners in all employment sectors of AFTRA contracts. 

The LGBT and Allies Committee will provide support to AFTRA performers, broadcasters, and sound recording artists, create solutions towards ending discrimination in the workplace, to educate the industry and the public on these issues, and to form alliances that will foster change in the industry.

The newly formed committee will work with Ray Bradford, AFTRA National Director for Equal Employment Opportunities. An openly gay Latino, Bradford was AFTRA National Second Vice President when, in 1997, he wrote the convention resolution that helped initiate Domestic Partner Benefits under the AFTRA Health Plan. He is also a lifetime member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Meetings in other cities around the country will be scheduled in the near future.

Monday's meeting is open to the public but priority seating will be given to AFTRA members.

About AFTRA:

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. More than 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists are moving forward together through AFTRA to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities. AFTRA members embrace change in society--from new culture to new technology--and incorporate change in their work and craft. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet, and other digital media. Visit AFTRA at