Jessica Chastain uses Oscars speech to furiously denounce ‘bigoted’ attacks on LGBT+ lives

Jessica Chastain leads Oscars stars condemning Don't Say Gay

Jessica Chastain won Best Actress at the Oscars, and used her speech to denounce Florida’s “bigoted” ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Chastain called out the “discriminatory and bigoted legislation” while accepting the Oscar for Best Actress, for her performance as televangelist and queer icon Tammy Faye Bakker in the biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

“We’re faced with discriminatory and bigoted legislation that is sweeping our country with the only goal of further dividing us,” said Jessica Chastain, who was nominated for the award along with Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, and Kristen Stewart.

“There’s violence and hate crimes being perpetuated on innocent civilians all over the world. And in times like this, I think of Tammy and I’m inspired by her radical acts of love…

“It connects us all in the desire that we want to be accepted for who we are, accepted for who we love, and to live a life without the fear of violence or terror.

“For any of you out there who do in fact feel hopeless or alone, I just not you to know you are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.”

Jessica Chastain was not the only Oscars star to make jabs at ‘Don’t Say Gay’.

Wanda Sykes – one of the trio of hosts for the show – joked about the bill in the opening monologue.

“We’re going to have a great night tonight,” she said. “And for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”

She and fellow hosts, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall, then repeated the word “gay” multiple times.

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which has been passed by Florida’s legislature and is sat on governor Ron DeSantis’ desk – would effectively ban speaking about LGBT+ issues in classrooms in a manner that is not “age-appropriate”.

The bill has been widely condemned, with Amit Paley, executive director of LGBT+ charity The Trevor Project, saying it will “add to the stigma” that fuels higher rates of “bullying, depression, and suicide” in young LGBT+ people.

Activists have warned the bill would make LGBT+ rights and lives a “taboo topic” in schools, similar to Britain’s Section 28 and Russia and Hungary’s so-called “gay propaganda bills”.

The fight against it has included walk-outs by Disney staff members, protests, and condemnation from celebrities including Ariana Grande and Sean Astin, as well as US president Joe Biden.

In a statement, Biden said: “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community – especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill – to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are.

“I have your back, and my administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”