The Human Rights Campaign awarded openly gay Orange is the New Black actress Samira Wiley with its Visibility Award last weekend during HRC’s 2015 North Carolina Gala. Known for her role as inmate Poussey Washington, Wiley reflected on her public image and coming out experience at the gala.
"I believe that our self worth and how we are taught to think about ourselves and the world around us almost always begins at home. I have two parents that not only tolerated who I am, but accepted me and embraced me. They embraced me before I came out, and they embraced me after. They told me everyday that I am enough. I am enough just of being who I am and that that alone makes me whole.
"It’s interesting to me that tonight I am here receiving the visibility award…Over the past few years since my own public image has increased tenfold, I have been overwhelmed to witness the profound ways that I am able to make a difference simply by living my life openly and with love."
Wiley is a Juilliard School graduate and played the role of Maria in Love’s Labour’s Lost by The Public Theater in 2011. The actress is currently in a relationship with Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli. You can watch the rest of Wiley’s gala speech, AFTER THE JUMP…