WestWorld star: ‘Bi-visibility gave me hope’

WestWorld star Evan Rachel Wood has said bi-visibility made her feel less crazy and gave her hope’

In a heartfelt 15-minute thank you speech, the star who also starred in HBO’s True Blood, detailed in full how her life changed instantly when she learnt about bi-visibility.

The bisexual TV star spoke to an enraptured audience at the North Carolina Gala for the Human Rights Campaign after being honoured with their 2017 Visibility Award on the 7 February.

Speaking honestly, Wood opened up about her life in her hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina where she lived as a tomboy “who happily ditched makeup for mud and ballet for a black belt”.

Wood went on to explain that as she went through puberty, she began to understand her sexuality as she started to have crushes on girls in middle school.

“I felt something that I couldn’t explain. And it was something that made my throat close up and my stomach clench. Something that made my mouth go dry and my pulse race”, she said.

“And it was something so simple, yet so terrifying. I thought women were beautiful and I realised I had always thought women were beautiful.”

As with many young LGBTI people, Wood remained in the closet due to her feelings for men echoing her feelings for women.

Seeing anti-LGBTI hate speech and violence towards others, Wood felt she had to keep silent.

The actress had previously explained on Twitter that she had battled with herself most of her life because she wasn’t gay or straight enough, fearing backlash from homophobic and biphobic people.

Wood publicly came out as bisexual in 2011 but came out at 12-years-old to her mother.

She recalled that hearing an actor say the word ‘bisexual’ in her youth made Wood understand who she was and that she did not feel marginalised at all.

“It made me feel less crazy. It made me feel less alone. It gave me hope.”

The actor also encouraged other artists to speak up.

“People wouldn’t try so hard to silence and discredit you if your voice didn’t matter.”

Wood has spoken openly in the past about trying to take her life and being a two-time rape survivor.

Wood spoke out in 2011 about bisexuality not being explained to children enough as she drew on her own experience of being confused by her feelings.

Upon hearing about bisexuality for the first time, she said that visibility and people speaking out about the subject helped to save her from feeling ‘broken and unlovable’.

“Because of the voices I listened to, because of the people I identified with, the films I watched, the music I had heard, because of words like “bisexual” and the doors that it opened, I’m still here,” she said.

She then went on to describe her son, whom she had with actor Jamie Bell, for being the most beautiful thing in her life yet.

She closed her speech by explaining that visibility creates hope.

“To be here today and to have the opportunity to take off the mask and be honest about who I am and what I have experienced is pretty indescribable.”