The Trevor Project Honors Lena Waithe with Hero Award

(Shutterstock)

Waithe wore a rainbow cape to the Met Gala as a “queer superhero,” but now the title is actually official.

The Trevor Project is a non-profit organization focused on preventing suicide amongst LGBTQ teens, and they bestowed a special honor upon the Master of None actress at their annual gala on Monday, June 11th, for her work in advancing queer representation on screen.

Waithe was introduced by her friend and Dear White People creator Justin Simien to receive the Hero Award, then gave a powerful speech directed toward the LGBTQ youth. “In these trying times, images are very important, particularly for our impressionable youth. They’re looking to the big and small screen to see glimpses of themselves,” she explained, “Too often gay stories are steeped in tragedy. Too often queer stories are told by people that aren’t even in the queer community. Our trials and tribulations are often exploited by Hollywood just to make a buck.”

While Waithe is a screenwriter, producer, and actor, she is also black and a lesbian, which makes her success all the more empowering for those who identify with her. Throughout her speech, it became very clear that she doesn’t intend to take her opportunities for granted and will utilize them to further LGBTQ representation and inspire young queer people everywhere.

“Many queer kids, they don’t feel love. They don’t feel seen and they don’t feel heard. I don’t just want these kids to live, but I want them to live their best lives because we as a society will benefit from all the many gifts they have to share,” she stated–spoken like a true hero.