Last night at the Golden Globe Awards, while accepting the Cecille B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, actress and director Jodie Foster finally came out publicly. In the tacit speech, which prompted people to wonder if the star was also announcing her retirement, Foster thanked her former partner (and children) and discussed her initial coming out, “back in the Stone Age.” The lengthy speech has been called “weirdly defensive,” “clever and elegant,” and “inspiring.” While the praise and criticism builds, we wanted to take a look back at other inspiring coming out speeches — moments where people in the public eye discussed being gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, or supported the cause and importance of coming out. Not everyone had a podium at their disposal, so we’ve included a few lengthy statements (some with videos) as well. Several of these speeches are unprecedented in their context, all of them are moving, and each one added to the visibility of the LGBT community.
Just a few months ago, audiences at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala fundraising dinner in San Francisco and people across the world were moved by the words of Cloud Atlas director, Lana Wachowski, when she accepted the organization’s Visibility Award. In the emotional, funny, and empowering speech, the filmmaker revealed her struggles growing up as a transgender person:
“I am here because when I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I couldn’t find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed simply because my gender was less typical than others. If I can be that person for someone else, then the sacrifice of my private civic life may have value.”
Read the full transcript over here, but we highly recommend watching the 25-minute video if you haven’t already.