In accepting an award on Saturday,
actress Samira Wiley recalled how she came out to her parents.
Wiley, 31, received GLAAD's Vito Russo
Award at the 29th annual GLADD Media Awards in New York.
The award is presented to “an openly LGBTQ media professional who
has made a significant difference in promoting LGBTQ acceptance.”
Wiley told the audience that she came
out to her parents 10 years ago this month while attending the
Juilliard School. She said that her parents were in town to see her
in a play.
“I remember walking into their hotel
room, my heart racing, and I heard the words 'I like girls' come out
of my mouth,” Wiley
explained. “I spent the next few minutes telling my parents who
I was. When I was finished, I looked up and I said, 'Okay, I'm
done.' I waited. My father looked at me and said, 'Cool.'”
Wiley said that the next day, her
parents attended her play.
“The plans didn't change. But so
often in the lives of young queer people when they decide to make
those terrifying and boldly courageous first fragile steps into
living their lives as authentically as possible, the plans do
change,” she said.
“So, let me say it plainly right
now: You are loved. You have a community that is here for you, is
dedicated to protecting you, and accepts you for exactly who you are
right in this moment,” Wiley added to applause.
Among her roles, Wiley has played
inmate Poussey Washington in the Netflix dramedy Orange is the New
Black and Moira in Hulu's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale.
She received an Emmy nomination for the latter role. Both
characters were gay.
Also at Saturday's event, Jay-Z's
mom Gloria Carter and director Ava DuVernay were honored, and
Etheridge and Adam Lambert performed a duet of “I'm the Only One.”
Media Awards: Samira Wiley, Jay-Z, Ava DuVernay honored.)