Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood has touched many peoples' hearts with her candid discussions on sexual assault, feminism and #LGBT awareness. In fact, due to her inspiring voice and tireless activism, she was granted the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award. While accepting her award at this year's HRC North Carolina Gala, Wood received another chance to share more impactful words about her experience as a bisexual woman, visibility, and hope. Watch the moving speech in its entirety below:
In her speech, Wood shared insights into her experience as a teenager with the audience. The bullying and hate speech inflicted upon the #LGBTQ community convinced her to hide her sexuality, believing that silence would keep her safe. Her relatable experience with confusion and loneliness began to diminish her self-worth.
"Then one day, I heard an actress say the word 'bisexual.' And when I found out, a light bulb went off. It gave me hope."
Her career as an actress and musician slowly became an outlet for visibility and connecting with others:
"I see you, you see me, we aren't that different. And through that connection, the healing begins."
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She then focused on the shame that many bisexuals face, both in and out of the queer community. This is vital to discuss, as bisexuals are sometimes treated as invalid, or as if their orientation is nonexistent. That notion is vastly problematic; no one deserves to be erased for who they are.
Later, Wood illuminated what being an artist and sharing her voice means to her:
"[Artists] have everything to lose and nothing to gain by speaking their truth. I believe a true artist doesn't care what people think but a truer artist cares about people. I choose to use my voice because it would feel selfish to have acquired the platform to represent the underrepresented and to not use it. People wouldn't try so hard to silence and discredit you if your voice didn't matter."
Her emotional speech drew to a close with a powerful and memorable quote from poet E.E. Cummings that she glances at daily:
"To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting."
Evan Rachel Wood's speech leaves us with an important reminder: Silence is never the answer. We all deserve to share our voices and be outspoken on however we identify, as that holds immense power.
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