Ricki Lake presented director John Waters with Outfest 2012's Achievement Award as the 30th iteration of Los Angele's LGBT film festival kicked off on Friday.

“At a time when actors, singers and news anchors would never have dreamed about discussing such matters publicly, both John and his work were unapologeticly queer,” Lake said in introducing the filmmaker.

Waters first found fame in the early 70s producing trash films which gained a cult following, including Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living and Polyester. He crossed over to mainstream film making in 1988 with Hairspray, which introduced Ricki Lake.

In accepting the award, Waters thanked his gay fans.

“I want to thank everyone for letting me get away with this for 50 years,” Waters said. “Really, seriously, gay people gave me the confidence and freedom to be the person I am today – right from the beginning.”

“I've been lucky. My career has been understood right from the beginning. Even negative reviews I turned into a career. And gay people have always been there and together we've learned that we turn pain into laughter. We will not only survive, we'll win. And if we can laugh at the most hurtful responses we've ever had in our life, we'll be the strongest minority of all,” he added. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)