Samira Wiley Won An LGBT Visibility Award And Her Speech Is Truly Beautiful

Watch and swoon.

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.

Human Rights Campaign / Via

And she gave a BEAUTIFUL speech.

Orange is the New Black / Netflix / Via

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.

“As I sit and I listen to these stories pour out of people, my first thought is often how little we must think of ourselves, to only accept tolerance,” she said.

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…”

Human Rights Commission / Via

“…should be a mere footnote in our lives, rather than the definition of our existence.”

Human Rights Commission / Via

“Over the past few years since my own public image has increased tenfold, I have been overwhelmed to witness the profound ways that I am able to make a difference simply by living my life openly, and with love.”

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.

A Valentine’s Day snap of Wiley’s partner Lauren Morelli. The pair met on the set of Orange is the New Black, on which Morelli is a writer.

We love you, Samira.

Human Rights Commission / Via

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.

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