Evan Rachel Wood delivered a powerful and heartfelt speech at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign North Carolina Gala, where she was honoured with the HRC Visibility Award.
The actress – who is currently engaged to Zach Villa, her partner in the musical duo Rebel and a Basketcase – opened up about her bisexual identity and the responsibility she feels as an LGBTQ public figure.
I thought women were beautiful. But because I was born that way, I never once stopped to think that was strange or anything to fear.”
Throughout her life, however, Wood admitted she “buried” her feelings as a result of the anti-gay hate speech that surrounded her, confused by her attraction to men.
There was a time, despite what it may have looked like on the surface, that the fear had gripped me so tight, and I felt broken and unlovable. And I did not think I would see tomorrow.”
She also told the audience that she never felt compelled or knew how to speak out about her sexuality until she heard another actress first say the word “bisexual.”
She then realized the power of visibility and the impact that moment had on her own life and identity.
As an actor, my job is to look at a stranger and find myself in them ― to connect the dots, to have such empathy for a character that I can read someone else’s words and be moved to tears.
Turning empathy into vulnerability… and it wasn’t until I saw the effect that it had on other people that I really started to see how powerful really allowing your most vulnerable parts to be seen was. I saw another side to what I did, and it was the power of visibility.”
Wood first came out as bisexual in 2011 in an interview with Esquire magazine, and has since used her platform to speak out for the bisexual community, an identity often erased or rendered invisible on the larger LGBTQ spectrum.
See Wood’s powerful speech below: