Samira Wiley called on the LGBTQIA community to be visible this coming Pride Month
"This year, I challenge all of you to be visible; demand to be seen," Wiley said while becoming the first queer black woman to accept the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards. "Let us overwhelm the world with [LGBTQIA] images of love and pride because not only will we be here to see you, to love you, to validate you, but I promise you, that your pride will give someone the courage to be themselves, too."
Wiley's call to action comes after sharing the importance of LGBTQIA visibility with the ceremony's audience. Wiley came out to her parents in May 2008, making this weekend's event one hell of a way to mark 10 years of living "as authentically as possible." With her father and wife, show writer Lauren Morelli, in the audience, Wiley spoke to the importance of queer visibility. "It is essential that we are dedicated to building a world where every young queer person knows that they are not alone," Wiley said. She also said she considers her and her wife's visibility a "great privilege" and an honor to "give young people a loving, beautiful example of what their future might look like." If by living her truth someone else can discover and live theirs, that, according to Wiley, is a tremendous source of pride.
Elsewhere in the evening, Gloria Carter, Jay Z's mom, accepted the GLAAD Special Recognition Award from Robin Roberts for her role in influencing the song "SMILE." She, too, touched on the importance of visibility and how hiding her true identity as a queer woman was a means of protecting her family from ignorance. "Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret," she said.
Visibility matters, and Wiley's words and Carter's living example are a testament to that. Let's keep them in mind as we approach the magical month of June.