At the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards during the 2000 Los Angeles ceremony, Elizabeth Taylor was presented the Vanguard Award by her stepdaughter Carrie Fisher. For her tireless work in HIV/AIDS advocacy, it was truly well deserved.
Premiering tonight in Marc Malkin's column at E! Online, Taylor's moving acceptance speech recalls her frustration at government inaction in the epidemic's early days, and how it inspired her to get involved. She also expressed her support for full LGBT equality in speaking about her many gay loved ones:
I feel that any home where there is love constitutes a family…Why shouldn't gay people be able to live as open and freely as anybody else? What it ultimately comes down to is love. How can anything bad come out of love? The bad stuff comes out of mistrust, misunderstanding, and god knows from hate and from ignorance.
As serious and heartfelt as her speech was, Taylor also wasn't above poking at little fun at herself in the process:
Those against gay marriage say that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. God, I of all people know that doesn’t always work.
GLAAD's President Jarrett Barrios shared the sentiments of many within the LGBT community in a quote from GLAAD's own statement released earlier:
At a time when so many living with HIV/AIDS were invisible, Dame Elizabeth fearlessly raised her voice to speak out against injustice. Dame Elizabeth was an icon not only in Hollywood, but also in the LGBT community where she worked to ensure that everyone was treated with the respect and dignity we all deserve.
Kristin Chenoweth will receive the Vanguard Award from Sean Hayes this year at the Los Angeles Awards on April 10. You can watch the entirety of Dame Elizabeth's acceptance speech below: