Kerry Washington Receives the GLAAD Vanguard Award, Addresses LGBT Representation in Media

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As previously announced, Kerry Washington was honored with the Vanguard Award at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards, for her work in increasing awareness and promoting equality for the LGBT community.

According to Look To The Stars,  Ellen DeGeneres presented Kerry with the award, and Kerry gave a rousing speech that earned a standing ovation from the audience

Kerry said in her acceptance speech,

I don’t decide to play the characters I play as a political choice. Yet the characters I play often do become political statements. Because having your story told as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian, as a trans person, or as any member of any disenfranchised community, is sadly often still a radical idea. There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations. That is why the work of GLAAD is so important.

We need more LGBT representation in the media. We need more LGBT characters and more LGBTstorytelling. We need more diverse LGBT representation. And by that, I mean lots of different kinds of LGBT people living all different kinds of lives. And this is big — we need more employment of LGBT people in front of and behind the camera. We can’t say that we believe in each other’s fundamental humanity, and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each other’s existence, and the truth of each other’s hearts. We must be allies and we must be allies in this business, because to be represented is to be humanized, and as long as anyone anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake, and we are all vulnerable.

We must see each other, all of us. And we must see ourselves, all of us. And we have to continue to be bold and break new ground until that is just how it is, until we are no longer ‘firsts’ and ‘exceptions’ and ‘rare’ and ‘unique.’ In the real world, being an ‘other’ is the norm. In the real world, the only norm is uniqueness, and our media must reflect that. Thank you, GLAAD, for fighting the good fight.”

Other guests for the night included, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Portia de Rossi, Shonda Rhimes, Patricia Arquette, and Viola Davis. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor  those in media for their representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.

Congratulations to Kerry for this great honor!

Image via Charley Gallay/Getty Images for GLAAD

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