Troye Sivan, the youngest ever recipient of the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the GLAAD Media Awards, honored a number trailblazing LGBT icons and activists who helped pave the way for our community.
In a compelling speech Saturday night, Sivan thanked GLAAD for the award, but dedicated it to Peter Staley, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Bayard Rustin and Gilbert Baker (the creator of the rainbow flag who died over the weekend).
“This award is so much larger than me,” Sivan said in his acceptance speech. “This moment is about visibility and about representation. 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 that I’m being honored for tonight.”
He talked about the 2012 documentary How to Survive a Plague, saying:
“Within the characters in the doc, I saw myself, and I saw my friends, and I saw my colleagues, and I saw my boyfriend. These kids were young, smart, active fighters. I saw that wit, that humor, that resilience that I’ve grown to love so much about my community.”
“The difference was that these people were attending a friend’s funeral on a weekly basis,” Sivan said. “This was in New York City, not even 40 years ago. They were fighting for medical treatment, for visibility, and they were fighting for their lives. It was a life or death situation.”
“Though times and our needs may have changed, this ethos and spirit still persists in our community today,” he said in his speech
The GLAAD Media Awards air on Thursday, April 6 at 10PM. ET/PT on Logo.