Debra Messing received a standing ovation for her GLAAD Awards speech, imploring Ivanka Trump to stop blindly defending her father and "start defending what you say you believe in."
The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards were held on Saturday night in New York City. The awards recognize and honour the media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect LGBTQ lives.
Actress and activist Debra Messing received the Excellence in Media Award, which is given to media professionals “who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community.”
GLAAD CEO & president, Sarah Kate Ellis, described Messing as “a champion of the LGBTQ community and many marginalized groups today. Through laughter, warmth and pure heart both on and off-screen, she accelerates acceptance and inspires everyone to raise their own voices.”
Messing starred in the ground breaking sitcom, Will And Grace, which returns for a ten episode run later this year. She regularly uses her Twitter platform to fight discrimination and speak out against the Trump administration.
In her powerful, passionate and hilarious acceptance speech, Messing described Trump as the “very bad and very orange man in our White House,” and talked of a year where “our democracy and humanity has been under attack.” She said that unless you’re an “unenlightened, straight, cisgender white man, you are a target.”
Acknowledging the power of the arts and media, Messing told the audience of performers and special guests that "we all must remember that one great show or character or news story can alter our culture permanently."
After urging the audience to continue resisting attacks on the LGBTQ community, Messing spoke directly to Trump’s daughter. Ivanka Trump has been harshly criticised for promoting herself as dedicated to the empowerment of women while being a leading figure within the Trump White House and refusing to speak out against the administration's harmful policies.
“There is someone I would like to make a direct appeal to this evening,” Messing said, before jokingly referring to the first daughter as the secretary of state. “Ivanka … girlfriend … what are you doing? C’mon, it’s me, Deb. Let’s talk for a second, one Jewish mother to another.”
“It’s not enough to simply say that women’s issues are important to you. It’s time to do something. You can change the lives of millions of women and children just by telling your dad stories about real people who are suffering. Don’t let him separate immigrant mothers from their American-born children. Don’t let him take health care away from women who need it. Don’t allow him to make trans kids like Gavin fight in court for their basic human dignity.”
Gavin Grimm is the transgender teenager who is fighting for the right to use the boys bathroom at his school. In March this year, the supreme court refused to hear the case after the Trump administration changed government policy on transgender bathroom protections.
“Ivanka, please, please stop blindly defending your father and start defending what you say you believe in. You can’t just write #womenwhowork and think you’re advancing feminism. You need to be a woman who does good work, hashtag say what you mean and mean what you say.”
“Ivanka, we know you love the guy who does your hair colour. It’s good, by the way. So do right by your colourist. And by all of us.”
“Imagine how you’ll feel sitting at Passover Seder, if you can tell your children that you fought for justice and freedom. It will make you feel richer than owning all the skyscrapers and golf courses in the world.”
Messing finished her speech by urging Americans to continue resisting Trump. "I don’t want to stop and I know you won’t stop, either. Because at the end of the day, it’s our responsibility to look out for one another. It’s the American way. So we rise! And together, with grit and hope, we will celebrate America at its most beautiful and free.”
Read the full list of GLAAD award winners.