Yesterday, actress Anna Akana came out in an acceptance speech during the Streamy Awards. Cue the rainbow streamers!
Anna won her Acting in a Drama Streamy for her work on a YouTube show called Youth & Consequences. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to her role on that show, or how queer the show is in general, though there is an episode called Gender Fluidity that addresses trans issues in an interesting way. At first I thought it was hella problematic but I think it ended up being okay in the end? I would have to watch more episodes to see the character’s arc before passing too much judgement. At the very least, Anna’s character seems pretty cool, and they included the Trevor Project information at the end of the episode.
Anyway, what I CAN tell you that Anna played queer badass on the show Stitchers, where she played Amanda, patient, brilliant girlfriend to Allison Scagliotti’s bisexual character Camille. (RIP Stitchers, gone too soon.)
When Anna was accepting her award, she had two ‘thank yous’ to impart. The first was for the writers of the show, “An actress is only as good as the words she’s given.”
Her second was pre-emptive, thanking the audience, viewers, and fans for voting. She stressed the importance of voting in the upcoming midterms and added that it’s important to her not only because she’s a woman of color, but also because she’s a queer woman.
— Streamy Awards (@streamys) October 23, 2018
Based on her follow-up tweet, where she said, “I guess I came out on the Streamys,” I’m not sure she originally planned that moment to come out. But I think she’s only one of many people who’ve been feeling like they need to state their truth as loudly as possible lately. The oppressive political noise is louder than ever, and marginalized people are using their platforms to get their message out to as many people as they can. And I think things like this help; putting a familiar friendly face to the word “queer” in mainstream places so it’s not an ambiguous adjective. The more knowledge people have about it, the less fear they’ll have, the less likely they’ll be to believe the lies told about us. I think Anna’s speech is especially important because she was accepting an award for a show aimed at a younger audience.
I also think there’s a trend (though I haven’t crunched the numbers…yet) of actors who play queer coming out as queer eventually. Whether they just weren’t out yet but took the role knowing they were queer, or playing queer helped them discover more about themselves is anyone’s guess. Fine by us! The more people who come out the better.
Congrats, Anna! Happy to have you on our team!