The Westworld star told gala attendees, "I see you, you see me. We aren't so different. "
Taking the podium at the 2017 HRC North Carolina Gala, the Westworld actress revealed, “Growing up, I thought that I was like every other girl who had a slight obsession with Jessica Rabbit, K.D. Lang and Melissa Etheridge. A girl who was more comfortable borrowing her brother’s baggy pants and backwards hats than putting on an Easter dress. Who would rather play in the mud than in makeup.”
“I didn’t realize that there was anything that would have been considered different about me until I was 12 years old – right around when puberty and sexual feelings start to take over – and I felt something that I couldn’t explain,” she continued. “I thought women were beautiful, and I realized I had always thought women were beautiful. But because I was born that way, I never once stopped to think that was strange or anything to fear.”
Wood said that as she grew older, she “buried those feelings” in fear after hearing anti-LGBTQ hate speech and realizing that she was also attracted to men.
The 29-year-old – who grew up in nearby Raleigh – first publicly came out as bisexual in 2011, telling Esquire, simply, “I’m into anything.” She’s since wed and split from Jamie Bell. Together they share a 3-year-old son, whose name she has not shared publicly. Wood is currently engaged to Rebel and a Basketcase bandmate Zach Villa.
“As an actor, my job is to look at a stranger and find myself in them ― to connect the dots, to have such empathy for a character that I can read someone else’s words and be moved to tears,” Wood said on Saturday. “I realized that every time I had reached out my hand to someone through a song or a performance of mine I was also reaching for someone’s hand. I see you, you see me. We aren’t so different. And through that connection, the healing begins.”
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Part of creating that connection with her audiences and fans was recording a YouTube video last year for Pride Month, in which she walked “people through my journey of self-realization — abusive relationships, suicide attempts and finally coming out of the closet and ultimately, survival.”
She addressed that dark period once again at the HRC Gala — and how things ultimately improved.
“There was a time, despite what it may have looked like on the surface, that the fear had gripped me so tight, and I felt broken and unlovable. And I did not think I would see tomorrow. But because of the voices I listened to, because of the people I identified with, the films I had watched, the music I had heard, because of words like ‘bisexual’ and the doors that it opened, I’m still here — and I didn’t miss out on the most beautiful thing I’ve seen yet, and that was my son.”