Scandal star: We can’t let minorities be pitted against eachother

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Scandal star Kerry Washington has delivered a powerful speech on what it means to be ‘other’ – while accepting an award from GLAAD.

The actress was honoured with the Vanguard Award at yesterday’s GLAAD Media Awards.

She said: “You would think that those of us kept from our full rights of citizenship would band together, but history tells us we often don’t.

“Women, poor people, people of colour, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, intersex people… we have been pitted against each other and made to feel like there are limited seats at the table for those of us who fall into the category of ‘other’.

“As a result, we have become afraid of one another. We compete with one another. We judge one another. Sometimes we betray one another.

“Sometimes even within our own communities we designate who is best suited to represent us, and who shouldn’t even be invited to the party.

“As others, we are taught that to be successful we must reject those other others, or we will never really belong.”

She continued: “When black people today tell me that they don’t believe in gay marriage… the first thing that I say is ‘please don’t let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interest by feeding you messages of hate.’

“Then I say ‘you know people used to say stuff like that about you and your love’, and if we let the government start to legislate love, who do you think is next?’.”

Of the TV industry, she said: “There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations.

“We need more LGBT representation in the media. We need more LGBT characters and more LGBT storytelling. We need more diverse LGBT representation, and, by that, I mean lots of different kinds of LGBT people living all different kinds of lives.”

“We must see eachother, all of us, and we must see ourselves, until we are no longer firsts, and exceptions, and rare, and unique.”