Actor Colton Haynes, who officially came out last May was awarded the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award in Seattle over the weekend. The actor fought back tears as he spoke about the freedom he has now found from being himself.
“I never made a decision to be gay,” said Haynes. “That came just as naturally as the color of my eyes. But, however, it’s up to me to be honest and open with everyone. And that’s why I’m here tonight, and why it’s so special for me.”
“I’m asked to play so many roles as an actor. But tonight I can actually be myself for the first time. It feels incredible.”
The 28-year-old held back emotion as he made a promise to the next generation of LGBTI people to pay it forward, “I don’t necessarily feel especially deserving of this recognition. We all know there are many other people who have come before me and blazed the trail as LGBT advocates and as role models. And I’m walking in their shoes and I’m following their lead. Instead I’ll accept this award as a promise. And this promise is simple and real. And I’m not making it to you. I’m making it to the next generations of lesbians and gay men, bisexuals, and transgender youth, and I hope my example will give them the confidence and hope to be who they are as well. And for them to conquer their own fears and hesitations. I want to give them just a little more courage to know that they’re loved just as they are.”
Check out the video below.
It really is powerful and beautiful speech. While I applaud Haynes for finding the courage to come out and using his celebrity status to advocate for equality, a part of me still can’t help but feel with all the enlightenment he’s experienced over the last few months and receiving such an award, that perhaps it’s time for an official apology for THIS! I highly doubt that will happen. But who knows, action does speak louder than words.
However, bitterness aside, congratulations Colton Haynes. Keep up the great work.