Actress Kerry Washington warned an audience at the GLAAD Awards over the weekend that anti-gay forces were "feeding you messages of hate" to drive a wedge between LGBT people and other minorities.
After being named the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards Vanguard winner on Saturday, Washington told the Hollywood crowd that she was "preaching to the choir," but she wanted to make a statement because "on Monday morning people are going to click a link to hear what that woman from 'Scandal' said."
"I think some stuff needs to be said," Washington noted with loud approval from the crowd. "There are those of us that to varying degrees do not [have equal rights]. We don't have equal access to education, to health care. And some other basic liberties, like marriage, a fair voting process, fair hiring practices."
"Now, you would think that those that are kept from our full rights of citizenship would band together," she continued. "But history tells us that, no, often we don't. Women, poor people, people of color, 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.'"
The actress reminded the black community that only 30 years before Ellen DeGeneres made her coming out statement in 1997, the Supreme Court was deciding if a ban on interracial marriage was unconstitutional.
"So 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.'"
"We can't say we believe in each other's fundamental humanity and then turn a blind eye to the reality of each other's existence and the truth of each other's hearts," Washington pointed out. "As long as anyone anywhere is being made to feel less human, our very definition of humanity is at stake and we are all vulnerable."