Kerry Washington praised for LGBT ally speech at GLAAD awards


Kerry Washington at Saturday’s GLAAD Media Awards

Actress Kerry Washington has been applauded for her passionate speech in support of the LGBT community at Saturday’s 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.

At the ceremony, Ellen DeGeneres presented Washington (Scandal / The Fixer) with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award, which is given to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations,” said Washington in her acceptance speech.

“We need more LGBT representation in the media. We need more LGBT characters and more LGBT storytelling. 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.”

Washington continued: “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.”

Also at the event, Channing Tatum presented out director Roland Emmerich (Stargate. Independence Day, White House Down) with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award. His upcoming film, Stonewall, will explore the rise of the LGBT rights movement in New York City.

In accepting the award, Emmerich said, “I’m very honoured and thankful to be here tonight to accept the Stephen F. Kolzak Award from GLAAD. GLAAD does so much to change our society by sharing stories about LGBT people, and to make everyone understand the value of our stories. So what is my story? I’m a director, I’m German, and I’m gay.”

The Imitation Game won the award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release. Producer Harvey Weinstein recorded a video acceptance urging attendees in the ballroom to sign a petition calling on the British government to pardon the other 49,000 people convicted under the same unjust law as Alan Turing.

The award for Outstanding Comedy Series went to Amazon’s Transparent while How to Get Away with Murder was honoured with Outstanding Drama Series. The Normal Heart received the award for Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series.

Glee also received a Special Recognition Award, following the series finale, for “consistently introduced groundbreaking LGBT characters and storylines,” including a recent episode that featured a 200-person transgender choir.

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