Out gay Orange is the New Black actress Samira Wiley received the Visibility Award at the 2015 Human Rights Campaign North Carolina Gala last weekend.
And she gave a BEAUTIFUL speech.
Wiley spoke about kids growing up in intolerant families, her own positive family experience, and what it means to her to be proudly and visibly gay.
What about acceptance? What about celebration, and love, and embracing difference, rather than merely tolerating it? What might happen if we raise the bar higher?
"The HRC’s work teaches us every day that sexuality and gender identity..."
"...should be a mere footnote in our lives, rather than the definition of our existence."
I believe that being visible truly is a huge part of the battle. Some days it isn't about moving mountains, but rather about waking up every day and choosing to live my truth as authentically as I am able. It is about holding my girlfriend's hand when I walk down the street. It's about doing something as small as posting a picture on Instagram that might teach a queer teenage girl in a small town that she's going to have a beautiful life too. That it's possible, that anything is possible. It's about emanating pride and love rather than shame, and hate.
We love you, Samira.
Watch the full speech here.
Correction: The Visibility Award was presented to Wiley by the Human Rights Campaign. An earlier version of this post called the organisation the Human Rights Commission.