"Scandal" star Kerry Washington is winning raves for her powerful, impassioned speech at the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in which she called for equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community along with women and racial minorities.
"There are people in this world who have full rights and citizenship -- in our communities, our countries -- around the world. And then there are those of us who to varying degrees do not," Washington told the crowd. "We don't have equal access to education and healthcare, and some other basic liberties like marriage, a fair voting process, fair hiring practices."
She went on to note:
Now you would think that those kept from our full rights of citizenship would band together and fight the good fight. But history tells us that no, often we don't. Women, poor people, people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, gay men, 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.'
Watch the full speech here:
"I don't decide to play the characters I play as a political choice, yet the characters I play often do become political statements," she said, before calling for "more diverse LGBT representation" and "more employment of LGBT people in front of, and behind, the camera."
"Having your story told -- as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian or as a trans person, or as any member of any disenfranchised community -- is sadly often still a radical idea," she then added. "There is so much power in storytelling, and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling, in inclusive representations."
The 38-year-old actress was honored with the Vanguard Award at the March 21 ceremony, which took place at the Beverly Hilton.