Hilary Swank broke new ground in film when she starred as real-life transgender man Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry. That was in 1999, and the world has changed a lot since then, in some ways.
With the Supreme Court decision last week that legalized marriages for LGBT folks, Hilary Swank is beside herself with joy. She did a lot more work in that arena that many people may not be aware of.
“I broke into tears [when I heard about the SCOTUS decision],” Swank told HuffPost Live. “It’s been a really long time coming, and it’s just such a beautiful moment for everybody.”
Swank spoke of the wide acceptance of Caitlyn Jenner and the shifting tide in America toward LGBT acceptance.
“I think it’s extraordinary. In 1999, I filmed Boys Don’t Cry. It was one of the first movies that touched on these types of stories, that was widely accepted. It was obviously a true story that deals with these hate crimes. I then became a spokesperson for the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Questioning Youth Organization, the Hetrick-Martin Institute here in New York City for ten years after that. I was able to spend time with the youth there and be really hands-on with them.”
The Hetrick-Martin Institute specifically addresses the safety of LGBT youth, advocating that “all young people — regardless of sexual orientation or identity — deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to thrive.”
Hilary Swank got to see the need for that first-hand when working with the Institute.
“They had an accredited high school that was built while I was working there. In New York City, 100 percent of them said that every single day they were abused either physically or mentally — every single day in New York City. So, it’s extraordinary to see how far we’ve come.”
— Mimi Arbeit, PhD (@MimiArbeit) June 28, 2015