Jessica Chastain used the acceptance speech for her first-ever Academy Award to call out “discriminatory” legislation in America.
The 45-year-old took home the highly coveted Best Actress award at the 94th Oscars on 27 March, beating out the likes of Kristen Stewart and Nicole Kidman.
After accepting her award from Anthony Hopkins, Chastain highlighted the ongoing issue of suicide, which has affected her own family and many “members of the LGBTQ community, who oftentimes feel out of place with their peers.”
She continued: “We’re faced with discriminatory and bigoted legislation that is sweeping our country, with the only goal of further dividing us.
“There’s violence and hate crimes being perpetuated on innocent civilians all over the world.”
Chastain won the award for her role as Tammy Faye Bakker in the biopic The Eyes of Tammy Fay, which she referenced during her speech.
“And in times like this, I think of Tammy, and I’m inspired by her radical acts of love,” she added. “I’m inspired by her passion. I see it as a guiding principle that leads us forward, and it connects us all in the desire that we want to be accepted for who we are, accepted for who we love, and to live a life without the fear of violence or terror.”
“And for any of you out there who do, in fact, feel hopeless or alone, I just want you to know that you are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you,” she concluded.
Florida’s highly controversial bill was directly referenced by Wanda Sykes, one of the three celebrities hosting the show, in her opening monologue.
“We’re going to have a great night tonight,” she told the audience. “And for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”
The legislation, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, seeks to restrict “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in primary schools and has sparked international outrage.
LGBTQ+ activists are fearful that it could totally limit any discussions or lessons on identity, the community’s history and the oppression it has faced – prompting its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ nickname.
‘Don’t Say Gay’ is set to go into effect on 1 July if Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signs it into law, which he has suggested he will.
I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve. https://t.co/OcAIMeVpHL
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 8, 2022