Oh My God, Thank you so much !
I’m such a cry baby. I’m like crying at myself backstage.  So pathetic…
I just want to say thank you so much for this  really beautiful award from such an extraordinary organization in my home town of Chicago no less. It’s the bad ass city of big shoulders where creating allies is a serious business.

I looked up the word ally (just because you know I’m a nerd that way) and the dictionary says an ally is someone  that is associated with another as a helper.
To be considered an ally to this beautiful, multifaceted fierce community, is an honor and a true privilege. The fact is however, I, like all of you are my allies and frankly my teachers.  (I know I’m gonna make myself cry ! )

When I accepted the offer to play Bette Porter on the L Word, a gift for which I will be forever indebted to Ilene Chaiken, I never dreamed I would learn so much over the next 6 years, yes, ok I learnt about dental dams, I learnt about twinkies and I learnt about how you get your hand over there when you are standing over here and it was like I had some kind of honorary degree in physics or anatomical engineering at this point but also I learnt about my inner alpha, thank you Bette Porter, I appreciate that but mostly this show and most specifically being part of this community, has taught me how to be in the world, and how to be and live in a democracy. I have learnt thru the LGBT community, I learnt about the sanctity of love, I learnt about the absolute necessity for authenticity and the importance of human agency. I’ve learnt how to use my voice. When we were shooting the pilot for the L Word, one evening my husband and I were sitting in a restaurant and he turned and he kissed me and I realized then if we were a gay couple, this event would’ve been very important for this particular restaurant and it hurt my heart, it spoke not only to my sense of otherness, spoke to my sense of being marginalized as a woman because homophobia is after all a form of misogyny and I for one would be damned if someone thinks it is somehow elevating to be confined to a binder…right?  but I digress. The event in the restaurant awaken in me the knowledge of how much courage it takes to live your life authentically and that’s true of anyone but it’s especially true of anyone who is systematically, culturally and structurally marginalized.
I have been reading a lot of Brené Brown lately and in a story about her daughter she distinguishes fitting in from belonging in this way. Fitting in it’s where I have to be like you and belonging it’s where I get to be me. It takes a lot of work to deconstruct system so that everyone feels like they can experience themselves fully as individuals within a group. It takes a lot of voices being raised to bring down the walls. In my time within this beautiful LGBT huge community, I have met hundreds of activists who use their voices in myriads ways. Not all of them have blow horns or led marches but they all use their voices. From the social worker in Uganda trying to provide some kind of clandestine support group to the LGBT community to the couple who after 30 years together and age of 70 decide to come out of the closet to be able to experience their love more fully and change their world. To every kid who started a gay and straight alliance group at their school in the face of potential humiliation or had to find a new family within the community because their parents kicked him out of the house when they come out. These men and women, young and old, not only spoke truth to power, they, with the help of so many great organizations like HRC, spoke money to power and sometimes with their hearts wide open they spoke love to power.

Love is by its very nature sacred and therefore powerful in ways we can only imagine.
When we acknowledge our love for ourselves, for our beloved, for this beautiful and complex world we live in, we realize we cannot silence ourselves or anyone or any government that would seek to quiet or diminish us and the love of anyone of us seeks to express. If we were to compromise that love whether is for ourselves, our beloved or a child we long to adopt, if we were to compromise our authenticity we diminish not only ourselves but we denigrate that very democracy of which we are a part. When we acknowledge and embrace love we can effect change. Love is both sword and shield. (Now I’m gonna try to say this without crying.. this is gonna be like an acting exercise pratically..) I wanna thank you all for being my teachers…. (Take 2) I wanna thank you all for being my teachers, I want to thank you for being my ally. It’s so important that we all have each other’s backs.
The L is not separate from the G or the B, or the T or the Q or S for that matter. Together they form a powerful alliance. Please know in all of your hearts, it is my pleasure to use my voice, heart and mind on behalf of this extraordinary community and I long for a day when the ally award will be obsolete because we will all be allies to each. Because we will all be allies to each living authentically, belonging rather than fitting in. Thank you.


Video - Photos

transcript by jennifer-beals.com