EJ Johnson has thanked his parents, Magic and Cookie Johnson, for allowing him to be as “fabulous and fierce as I want to be.”

EJ made his remarks in a speech delivered at Time to THRIVE, an LGBT youth conference hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and held at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I always knew I was different,” EJ said in presenting his parents with the HRC's Upstander Award. “And, you know, certainly in the high school and middle school it's never easy to, like, find your way and navigate through, and certainly you're unsure of yourself. But I was really blessed with amazing parents who are so supportive. And when I was ready to talk to them about my situation, they were so, you know, amazing and had my back 100 percent and that's the only reason why I'm certainly here today and comfortable enough to be as fabulous and fierce as I want to be.”

After playing a short video featuring Magic and Cookie Johnson, EJ accepted the award on behalf of his parents. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)