October 11, 2012
Sally Field Nails Acceptance Speech at HRC Dinner
On Saturday, October 6, the Human Rights Campaign hosted its National Dinner in Washington DC, highlighting the progress of LGBT equality and honoring various members of society who have done their part in supporting equal rights across the country and all over the world.
The NAACP accepted the HRC National Equality Award for all of its efforts in the support of marriage equality. Sally Field, acclaimed actress and mother of three sons, including her youngest son Sam, an out gay man, was given the HRC Ally for Equality award. Now, I have always been a fan of Sally Field. My mother is a fan, and we grew up watching a multitude of movies in my household, many of which starred Ms. Field. The fact of the matter is that Sally Field was one darn cute girl when she broke out into Hollywood. That smile! That charisma! Simply adorable.
Yes, she has not been as prominent in Hollywood as of late, sticking to mostly television work and her personal life. She has always kept private about her own life, and especially the lives of her children. When her son Sam came out at the age of twenty, Ms. Field did not feel like it was her place to discuss his life. This does not mean she was not supportive of her son or his sexuality. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It is so obvious how appreciative and grateful her son Sam is, having such an understanding (albeit stereotypically overbearing and mom-like) mother. His presenting speech touches on this, and also makes light of the fact that even though his mom is a gay icon, she herself was not necessarily aware of her status as such.
Listening to the speech she gave at this National Dinner, I was reminded why Sally Field was such a Hollywood darling. She can hold an audience’s attention with her distinct and carrying voice. Her smile is genuine and lovely. And she is a woman who has lived and loved, and emanates that love in her body language and words. In her speech, she radiates pride as she announces that the three things she is most proud of are her sons. Specifically, she talks about her youngest son Sam, and how she knew he was different than his brothers, no matter how hard he tried to catch up to them and outdo them in any masculine endeavor.
As she talks about recognizing his uniqueness throughout his childhood and beginnings of adulthood, it is impossible not to feel a warmth in your heart. Even though she saw parts of him that she perhaps understood before he did, she withheld from pushing him before he was ready. Her choice of words is powerful. “Nature made Sam. It wasn’t a choice.” And then she addresses the
families and specifically the parents who do not support their gay children, the ones who shun their own sons and daughters, and she emphatically states that she finds this “unacceptable”. I wanted to shout out an “Amen”, but then I felt silly cheering on YouTube. (Still . . .AMEN!)
As she wraps up her speech, she thanks the people present at the dinner. Again, her succinct and warm words resound, “You all have fought for him, as surely as if you were one of his parents.” This recognition of all the hard work and effort advocates and activists have pushed through is meaningful. But the real applause came at the end, as Sally Field said, “You’ve changed and are changing the lives of little boys and girls who’ve realized somewhere along the way that they’re just different from their other brothers and sisters, and so the f*ck what!”
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