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Kerry Washington Demands More LGBT Employment in Hollywood

Scandal star Kerry Washington was honored with the Vanguard Award at Saturday night’s GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, and used her acceptance speech to call for the employment of more LGBT people in the entertainment industry.

Washington, who was honored with the special award for being an ally to the LGBT community, began by saying she knew that people were “going to click a link to hear what that woman from Scandal said at that award show, and so, I think some stuff needs to be said.”

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

“As a result, we have become afraid of one another. We compete with one another, we judge one another,” Washington continued. “Sometimes, we betray one another. Sometimes even within our own communities we designate who among us is best suited to represent us and who really shouldn’t even be invited to the party.”

The Emmy-nominated actress called for better LGBT representation in the media, before urging the entertainment industry to hire more LGBT people.

“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,” Washington said, drawing enthusiastic applause. “And this is big; we need more employment of LGBT people in front of and behind the camera.”

Washington was joined at the 26th annual GLAAD awards show by host Tig Notaro and presenters Channing Tatum and Ellen DeGeneres. Special guests at the event included Avatar‘s Zoe Saldana, How to Get Away with Murder‘s Viola Davis, and Washington’s Scandal co-star Portia DeRossi.

Watch the rest of Washington’s Vanguard Award acceptance speech above.

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