Troye Sivan used his GLAAD Award acceptance speech on the weekend to pay tribute to LGBTI activists throughout history.
On Sunday, Troye got the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, awarded to openly LGBTI figures who have worked to further the cause of LGBTI equality.
“This award is so much larger than me. This moment is about visibility and about representation,” he said in his emotional speech.
“What and who we see in the media defines our perception of the world around us and so to see ourselves in this picture of what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘acceptable’ and what is ‘beautiful’ is absolutely vital.”
“In saying that, so much of the work that has contributed to our progress as a community is far less glamorous than the work I’m being honoured for tonight.”
Troye honoured the activists depicted in the 2012 documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” which documented the activism during the early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York.
“I saw myself in these characters and the difference was that these people were attending a friend’s funeral on a weekly basis,” he said.
“This is in New York City, less than 40 years ago. They were fighting for medical treatment, they were fighting for visibility and they were fighting for their lives. It was a life or death situation.
“It was this kind of activism and sacrifice that paved the way for all of us to be here tonight… I would like to share it with the warriors who made it possible but maybe didn’t get one for themselves.”
He dedicated his award to “warriors” in LGBTI activism that came before him, including Peter Staley, Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Bayard Rustin and rainbow pride flag creator Gilbert Baker, who passed away a day earlier.
Watch Troye’s speech below: