If you’re feeling a little deflated recently (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) then look no further for the perfect motivational pick-me-up. From awards ceremonies to political rallies, we’ve accumulated an incredible list of timeless and best speeches by queer females. We’ve been there playing on repeat to get us in the mood to take on the new year. So, in no particular order…
There’s a lesson for all of us in Janelle Monáe’s 2018 speech following her Trailblazer Award wins at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards. She says: “The most difficult trail to blaze is the one that takes us inside of who we are, individually and as a whole.” Monae is humble and inspiring, and her voice makes us feel all warm inside, but ready to take on the world at the same time.
Singer Lauren Jauregui has long used her voice to inspire, educate, and advocate for change. At the 2019 Women’s March in Los Angeles, she delivered this powerful speech which celebrates women across America and beyond. Do as Lauren says, and make sure you remind yourself of your power at every chance that you get.
This incredible acceptance speech from Dominique Jackson at the 2019 Annual Human Rights Campaign dinner hits many different levels of emotion. It’s raw, inspiring, witty, uplifting and extremely moving. Dominique not only discusses the awful violence and brutality that trans women, and trans women of colour have had to endure, but deep dives into society’s dismissal of humanity. Two incredibly powerful lines from this speech that resonated with us so strongly were “Our foundation is Human, not Sex.” and “You do not have the power to accept or tolerate me, I take that from you. You will respect me.” Dominique, you continue to inspire and amaze us.
In 2019, Charlize Theron received the 33rd American Cinematheque Award. Colleagues from across her career were invited to salute her, and Kristen Stewart did exactly that, saying, “She made me believe in actual magic when I worked with her.” We love this speech both because it’s Kristen and she’s just so effortlessly cool, and because of the way she’s lifting another woman up. We all need a friend like Kristen in our lives, ey?
Samira Wiley’s speech following her Vito Russo Award win at the 2018 GLAAD Media Awards was emotional and inspiring. On the 10th anniversary of her coming out, she shared her story and offered her support for others doing the same: “It is essential that we are dedicated to building a world where every young queer person knows that they are not alone.”
Is there anyone more awesome than Edna Mode from The Incredibles? Maybe one of the women she’s believed to have been based on – Linda Hunt. In 1984 Hunt won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Year of Living Dangerously. Her speech was classy and humble. May you all find your water from the moon.
American Actress/Producer and LGBTQ+ Activist, Laverne Cox was awarded an Honouree Award at the 2016 Variety’s Power of Women. She spoke of the importance of her being presented with the award as a way for trans women to be recognised within the same space as other women. She discusses how such events help to change the all-too-often narrative that suggests trans women are not real women. She even manages to include a lyric from Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ <3.
At the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year Summit Halsey delivered her poem Inconvenient Women, telling women around the world: “You were not put on this earth to make everybody else’s life easier. So please, be inconvenient.” We hear that!
In 2013, during her speech for winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, Jodie Foster thanked her “…heroic co-parent, ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life…” Cydney Bernard praised their “modern family”. Many have called it Foster’s coming out speech, after years of speculation about her sexuality, with some criticising her for taking so long to speak about it. Here at Nonchalant we believe you talk about your sexuality in your own time, on your own terms, and love this speech for illustrating that.
Lena Waithe was honoured at the 2018 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards and she used her speech to address the black LGBT+ community. She said: “I realise it’s not just my job to make art, but it’s my job to be a light at the end of the tunnel for those other little lesbians in training, sitting in a small town, wondering what life would be for them when they come of age.” Keep shining, Lena.
Hayley Kiyoko’s speech for receiving the Rising Star Award at Billboard’s Women in Music ceremony in 2018 was equal parts emotional, funny and relatable. Kiyoko spoke to us all when she said: “Nobody wants to be brave, we’re all terrified.” Oh… and she actually said “appresh” instead of “appreciate” – iconic!
In 2017 Natasha Negovanlis won the Fan’s Choice Award at the Canadian Screen Awards. Referencing her role as queer vampire Carmilla in the YouTube series of the same name, she said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to provide more positive onscreen representation for the queer community. For my community.” We’re all for that!
What do you reckon – feeling a bit more inspired? Let us know, and send us a link to any speeches you think we’ve missed!
If you liked these speeches about inspiring women, check out our series of articles on some of the Nonchalant Teams coming out stories.
Team Nonchalant x
Last Updated on 26th May 2023 by Nonchalant Magazine
While all of these are very deserving, it’s a real shame that given the current environment in the U.K. there doesn’t appear to be a single openly trans person’s speech on this list. There are plenty to choose from if the author or nonchalant had wanted to find one.
Thanks very much for your feedback, and we completely agree. Our content team have reviewed this and added some great speeches which we hope you like. Please do let us know of any more that you’ve found inspirational.
All the best,
Hiya team Nonchalant.
Thanks for adding in Dominique and Laverne. Your articles are a firm fav of my gf and I – but somehow – weirdly I missed this.
Anyway, a bit late but if possible I would thoroughly recommend adding Sylvia Rivera’s blistering rebuke of the mainly white male gay crowd at the Christopher Street march of 1973.
Technically that is yet another American woman of colour and as the list leans that way you might want to add in Anna Ruling’s 1904 speech in Austria – the very first openly lesbian political speech (no YT clip though) or another European must-have in this sort of list would be Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who was the first openly lesbian head of government in modern history.
Then again, if you felt like doing a new version I wrote a book called Great LGBTQ+ Speeches and would love to write a list for you that has a more historical focus. Here’s the book: “An Extract From Great lgbtq Speeches”
Thanks also for all the “strong female leads on Netflix atm / lists” honestly invaluable 🙂 t
Thanks very much for letting the team know, and for your kind words.
We’ll get the article amended to include your suggestions ????
We’d also love to feature your book and an interview with you, do reach out to our content team: email@example.com
All the best,
Team Nonchalant x