Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks on
Thursday was recognized for his groundbreaking performance 22 years
ago in the film Philadelphia.
The film was the first from a major
studio to sympathetically portray HIV-positive characters.
Actor Aaron Eckhart presented Hanks
with the Outfest Legacy Awards' Trailblazer Award.
“It turns out we all know someone
that is gay or lesbian or transgender and there is an excellent
chance that we love them exactly as they are,” Hanks said in
accepting the award. “It turns out, the pandemic that was and
still is AIDS made for a horrifying passing and the loss of so many
has made the world a lesser place. And care for those still in need
of care remains a burden we must share. And it turns out that the
United States of America was not broken by the homophobia of that
time nor by the attendant prejudice and ignorance or intolerance of
“We the people have continued on in
the formation of a more perfect union. And yes, there are those who
wish to codify inequality and they continue to promote fear and
outrage, rather than recognize the strengths that are self evident in
our diversity. But the truth will have its day, that our nation is
wiser and stronger because we are more open and increasingly honest
about what love really is,” he added to thunderous applause.