Amiyah Scott talks trans visibility: "We’re here and we always have been here and we always will be here" and Kat Graham speaks on being a trans ally at GLAAD Atlanta

November 15, 2018

Friday night was a time of celebration at GLAAD Atlanta where GLAAD brought together LGBTQ notables from all over to honor Amiyah Scott and LGBTQ leaders in the South. Woman of the hour, Amiyah Scott, was honored with the Rising Star Award. Scott, who plays Cotton on Lee Daniel's hit drama Star on FOXis first transgender women of color to play a regular character in a scripted drama series on broadcast TV.

Presenting the Rising Star Award to her was friend and fellow actress, Angelica Ross, a breakout talent from FX's Pose. Ross is also the President of Miss Ross, Inc. and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, an organization that helps people lift themselves out of poverty through technical training and digital work creating a social impact and bringing economic empowerment to marginalized trans and LGBTQ communities. Ross spoke of the bond she has with Scott, and Scott's impact after being one of the first Black trans women on broadcast television.

Scott accepted her award graciously, and spoke on the resilience of the trans community, and the LGBTQ community at large, to maintain progress and keep moving forward.

"Being a trans woman of color, being different, being part of the LGBTQ community, I think we all know those moments when we feel like we're alone, and we aren't. We’re here and we always have been here and we always will be here. We exist."

“Amiyah Scott is a talented actress and brilliant advocate who uses her voice to uplift transgender women of color and educate fans everywhere about transgender people and issues,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “At a time when LGBTQ visibility in the South is critical to moving our community forward, we are proud to stand with women like Amiyah to promote messages of love and acceptance.”

Originally from New Orleans, she first made her mark as a teenager, blazing a trail through the city’s underground ballroom scene. Having overcome bullying and intimidation to emerge as a proud advocate for the LGBTQ community, she continues to focus her efforts on providing transgender females a voice.  Most recently she joined Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and other transgender leaders to speak out against the Trump Administration’s reported anti-transgender proposal. 

See her speech below:

Kat Graham, sporting a powerful "Trans Rights Are Human Rights" tee, ushered along the evening, and called for action:

"But what is also really important is that we keep giving, that we don’t stop after tonight and that we continue to educate each other, donate our time our money our platforms our voice and everything we are and own so that we push the agenda of acceptance for all forward. We must. Our future depends on it."

Other highlights of the night include The Walking Dead's Daniel Newman, who introduced a performance by the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus.

Author Michelle LeClair and her partner, Grammy Award-winning composer Tena Clark also spoke at the event. LeClair discussed her recent book "Perfectly Clear: Escaping Scientology and Fighting for the Woman I Love" and Clark spoke out about finding her voice and identity through songwriting--which lead on to her working with Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle and so manymore. GLAAD Board Chair Pamela Stewart also took the stage and introduced GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

Other special guests included reality star Jermaine Sellers and Ryan Jamaal Swain from Pose.

The GLAAD Atlanta Gala was supported by presenting partners Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka and Turner, community partners Active Production & Design, Atlantic American/Gray Television, Georgia Power, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Wells Fargo.

More photos from the event below.