Today, I wear the pants. Today, I wear the suit.
In an age when I can barely watch the news, I gasped at the unjust men and some women, quite frankly, that I see running this country. I had a revelation that I had to be empowered to be myself today more than ever, to resist the standards of Hollywood, whatever that means, to resist the standards of dressing to impress, but to use what really matters: my voice.
After I was assaulted when I was 19, I changed forever. Part of me shut down for many years.
I didn’t tell anyone. I avoided it myself. And felt shame even still today.
Standing in front of you, I feel shame for what happened to me. I still have days where I feel like it was my fault.
After I shared what happened to me with very powerful men in this industry, nobody helped me.
No one offered me guidance, or a helping hand, to lead me to a place where I felt justice. They didn’t even point me in the direction of the mental health assistance I was in dire need of.
Those men hid because they were afraid of losing their power. And because they hid, I began to hide. I hid for a long time until I started to feel physical pain.
Then I had to go to the doctor because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And then I was diagnosed with PTSD and fibromyalgia, which many people don’t think is even real, and I don’t even know what the fuck to say about that.
But I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a syndrome that is essentially a cyclone of many different conditions depending on the person, inducing a stress-induced pain. And I really wish my friend Lena Dunham was here tonight because I think she could probably articulate this much better than me.
And I hope we can all agree that she is a remarkable woman.
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma — these are just a few examples of the forces
that can lead to this tornado of pain. So what I would like to say, in this room of powerful women and men today, is let’s work together to beckon the world towards kindness.
I’m fortunate enough now to have the resources to help me, but for many, the resources either don’t exist, or people don’t have the ability to pay for or access them.
I want to see mental health become a global priority. We might not be able, or we’re not able, actually, to control all of the challenges and the tragedies that life throws our way, but we can work together. This room and even wider can work together to heal each other.
And we can also try to find the strength, in the best way that we can, to ask for help if we need it.
One in four people in the world suffer from mental illness. 300 million people suffer from depression, 60 million people live with bipolar affective disorder, 23 million people are stricken with schizophrenia, and 800,000 people die every year from suicide.
In low and middle income countries, between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders
receive no treatment at all. In high-income countries, between 35% and 50% of people are in the same situation.
The people in this room, and the people that you have in your network, have the power to turn kindness into plutonium and change the world for both children and adults, to provide for a better future and make up in whatever small way that we can, microscopic maybe, for the pain those have suffered in the past.
And if anyone is compelled to do so, please join me and my mother Cynthia. We’re the founders of the Born This Way Foundation to empower youth, to inspire a kinder and braver world. We want kids to learn about mental health and the importance of kindness at a very young age.
And it is my personal dream that there would be a mental health expert, teacher, or therapist in every school in this nation, and hopefully, one day, around the world.
Let’s lift our voices. I know we are, but let’s get louder. And not just as women, but as humans,
and see that there are — there are great men in the world. And ask them to hold our hands for justice, that our voices be heard whatever our story may be, for an equal standing that we will fight for justice for women and men and those with other sexual identities.
For me, this is what it means to be a woman in Hollywood.
It means I have a platform. I have a chance to make a change. I pray we listen and believe and pay closer attention to those around us, to those in need.
I’m sorry, I preach a lot, so you’re going to have to bear with me.
Be a helping hand. Be a force for change.
Thank you, Nina Garcia. Thank you, Stephen Gan. I was an outcast and you believed in me, and I wouldn’t be here without you.
Thank you, Elle. Thank you all the loved ones in my life. Bobby, I love you. Everybody at table five.
My fiance Christian. All the loved ones in my life who’d take care of me every day.
And Ryan Murphy, thanks for giving me my first leading role. You know that Golden Globe belongs to you, man. Thank you to all of you, everybody in this room who has supported me in having a voice, and knowing I have something inside me to give that’s more important than any stereotype about Hollywood.
I have my heart to give to you, and I want you to have all of it. Thank you for inspiring me.
I can’t say enough about you. Listening to you speak tonight gave me hope when I have trouble sleeping because I’m afraid, or when I walk out in the world and I’m trembling inside. It’s women like you, Anita, that make me feel strong. Come on.
Be kind to yourselves and be kind to each other. And to the designers that sent me
all those beautiful dresses, thank you too.
It taught me something that I needed to learn again today.
And to quote myself — If there’s one thing you take away from me being here tonight, Elle,