Kerry Washington's Moving GLAAD Awards Speech: Top 10 Quotes (Video)

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Kerry Washington

Ellen DeGeneres presented the Vanguard award to Washington for being a longtime ally of GLAAD.

GLAAD Vanguard award recipient Kerry Washington did not hold back in her moving acceptance speech as she spoke on equality for all citizens at the organization's annual dinner at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night. Ellen DeGeneres joked the event was "the largest gathering of gay people in one room since yesterday," and presented the award to Washington for being a longtime ally of the organization.

"Yes, she's beautiful, has perfect hair and skin, and is rich and slender, but here's how she’s different," said DeGeneres. "She has consistently taken on characters that encourage acceptance of the people around us, even if they're different and especially if they are underrepresented. She is not afraid to fight for the underdog, she challenges our hearts and our minds. You didn’t hear it from me, but I saw her at [lesbian event] Dinah Shore Weekend.”

On the heels of Shonda Rhimes’ recent HRC Gala speech, Washington continued the conversation about equal rights and representation for the LGBT community and minorities, people whom she says are perceived in society as “others.” She spoke out among a crowd including Viola Davis, Pete Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, Jill Soloway, Zoe Saldana and Patricia Arquette.

“On Monday morning, people are going to click a link to hear what that woman from Scandal said at that awards show, and so, I think some stuff needs to be said,” said Washington.

The evening was sponsored by Ketel One vodka. The company’s CEO, Carl Nolet Jr., contributed $25,000 to the $350,000 that was raised by the end of the night. 

Check out the top 10 quotes from Washington's acceptance speech, plus video, below. 

1. "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."

2. “In my career, I’ve not been afraid of inhabiting characters who are judged and who are misunderstood and who have not been granted full rights of citizenship as human beings, but here’s the great irony: I don’t decide to play the characters I play as a political choice, yet the characters I play often do become political statements."

3. “Having your story told as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian or 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."

4. “We must see each other, all of us, and we must see ourselves, all of us. We have to continue to be bold and break new ground until that is just how it is, until we are no longer 'first' and 'exceptions' and 'rare' and 'unique.'"

5. "In the real world, being an 'other' is the norm. In the real world, the only norm is uniqueness, and our media must reflect this."

6. “In 1997, when Ellen made her famous declaration, it took place in an America where the Defense of Marriage Act had just passed a month earlier and civil unions were not yet legal in any state. Just 30 years before that, the Supreme Court was deciding that the ban against interracial marriage was unconstitutional. Up until then, heterosexual people of different races couldn’t marry who they wanted to marry, either. So when black people today tell me that they don’t believe in gay marriage ... [Deliberate pause].”

7. "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. We need more employment of LGBT people in front of and behind the camera.”

8. "Women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, we have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of 'other.' As a result, we have been afraid of one another. We compete with one another. We judge one another. Sometimes, we betray one another. Sometimes, within our community, we designate who among us is best suited to represent us and who really shouldn't even be invited to the party."

9. "You would think that those of us who are kept from our full rights of citizenship would band together and fight the good fight, but history tells us that no, often we don't."

10. "As 'others,' we are taught that, to be successful, we must reject those other 'others,' or we will never belong."

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