"And obviously the reason that we're honoring him tonight, not just for his talent or for his humanitarian work, in 2008 Clay Aiken, our honoree for this evening, became a father. And, after his decision to become a father and after Parker was born, he did what I think is the singularly most important thing that any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parent can do. He told the truth about who he was. He was honest about his life. And he showed his son that to live a life proud, truthful, committed to the things that you believe in, is the only way to live in the world."Clay Aiken is a humble man and, during his acceptance speech, he gave the honor back by acknowledging those who have fought for family equality and for their years of dedication. Clay stated:
"I've only been doing it for 8-1/2 months, and so the hard work, and the most important work, has been done by many of the people in this room, who've been doing it for years. And many of the people outside of this room who have been doing it for years. So really the honor should go to everyone here who have done everything, and I'm just humbled to be a part of, a part of this group and to be a gay dad, and to be proud of that. To be proud of my son and to be able to raise him hopefully in an environment that is accepting, in a country and a society that is accepting, and that's being done thanks to the work of everyone who's involved in the Family Equality Council."And finally, in true Clay Aiken fashion, he challenged us. He challenged us to use our voices to spread the word of equality:
"I'm just going to speak to these some of these very interesting ladies in the room right now on the outskirts. We were talking earlier this evening, before we came into the room about how, and I'm going to get political here for just a second, how in the 1960s and the earlier part of last century when the civil rights movement really was taking hold, there was a lot of activism not only on the part of African Americans but on the part of white Americans who were very active for integration and equality for African Americans in the Country.Now for me this is one of the easier challenges. I have a family member who has been in a committed relationship for the past 15 years. She and her partner have raised a wonderful young woman who is bright, beautiful and loving.
I think it's just as important now and days when we have individuals who are straight and are being activists for gays and lesbians and transgender and bisexual people. But it's really a tough job for you because gays and lesbians and all us folk can say as much as we can, but it really is going to take a lot of effort on your part as well.
So to you who have come and have been so supportive of me, not only tonight but for years and years and years, I'm very honored that you're here tonight and I'm very appreciative and I hope that you'll go and spread this message to the people who you know in your communities who may not know about the work of Family Equality Council or the power and the love that's in every single family in the country."
That little girl is now married and she and her husband are planning on starting their own family - bringing another generation of people into this world who are accepting of all and who understand that through diversity we learn love, acceptance and understanding.
Bravo Clay and thank you. Thank you for always using that beautiful voice of yours not only to entertain, but to enlighten. You are, quite simply, the best.
To see clay's speech in its entirety, please visit:
Clay Aiken News Network
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