'Westworld' Star Evan Rachel Wood Shares Details of Her Bisexuality at LGBT Gala
"I thought women were beautiful," the actress told an HRC event in North Carolina, adding that hate speech led her to "bury" her same-sex attraction.
Saying she grew up a "tomboy from Raleigh," Evan Rachel Wood accepted the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award at a gala dinner Saturday evening in North Carolina.
The actress, who plays a robotic rancher's daughter who slowly gains sentience on HBO's Westworld, identifies as bisexual, something she revealed on Twitter in 2012.
Wood was married for two years to actor Jamie Bell, with whom she had a son; she is currently engaged to Zach Villa, her partner in the musical duo Rebel and a Basketcase.
But she has always been drawn to women, as well. Sporting a three-piece tweed suit, short blond tresses and tortoise-shell glasses, Wood, 29, shared thoughts about that same-sex attraction, whose stirrings began at age 12.
"I thought women were beautiful," she told a crowded ballroom at the Le Méridien hotel in Charlotte. "But because I was born that way I never once stopped to think that was strange or anything to fear."
Wood "buried" her feelings in her teen years in response to frequent anti-gay hate speech around her. She was further confused by what she calls "inconsistencies" in her feelings.
"I also thought that men were beautiful," she explained.
In recent years, Wood has been very open about her sexual identity. Sensing her own story could help others like her, Wood "recorded a video of myself walking people through my journey of self-realization — abusive relationships, suicide attempts and finally coming out of the closet."
She posted it on YouTube in celebration of last year's LGBT pride festivities. Two days later, the shootings at Pulse in Orlando occurred, killing 49 people inside the gay nightclub and wounding 53 more.
"Some people don't think that artists should speak up," Wood said, then quoted the late singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone: "I choose to reflect the times and situations in which I find myself."
She made no direct reference to President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence in her remarks; the latter has dedicated much energy to stifling gay rights in his home state of Indiana, where he served as governor from 2013 to 2017.
A drafted "religious freedom" executive order, which would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT patrons based on their personal beliefs, has yet to be signed by the president.
The HRC North Carolina Gala Dinner is organized by and for North Carolinians to rally as a local community and raise funds in the ongoing fight for LGBTQ equality and the repeal of the state's anti-transgender bathroom law.
The state law — which requires transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate — was passed in March 2016. The legislature is currently gridlocked over whether or not to repeal it.
HRC will honor Meryl Streep and Seth Meyers on Feb. 11 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City at its Greater New York Gala.