“Just listen.” That’s the heart of the acceptance speeches delivered by Daily Show host Trevor Noah and actress Angelica Ross when the Comedy Central series won Outstanding Talk Show Episode at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday. Ross, founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, was the guest on the winning April 2016 episode, which focused on trans people and issues.
Noah remembered the question many people asked when Ross appeared on the show: “What do you do if you want to be an ally? How do you fight? How do you know what to say?” The answer, he said, was simple: “You don’t have to know. You just have to listen. Just listen. Whether it means listening to black people in America who are oppressed, black women who are at the bottom of the totem pole in America, whether it means listening to the LGBTQ community. Just listen.”
Like many people, Noah has had to learn to open his mind. “I’ve had to uncondition my conditioning growing up in a country [South Africa] and in a world where I was told gay people weren’t people. But everyone can grow out of it, everyone can change,” he said. “Everyone can become more if you just listen. It’s scary, but it’s not as scary as the journey most of the people in this room have gone through.”
Ross echoed Noah’s message on the power of listening and thanked the show for the forum, where attendees heard that “trans people tell you, from our mouths, what our challenges are, and what our struggles are, and also show you that we are qualified to do anything.”
She said they were accepting the award on behalf of the trans community, and concluded with a special message to trans women of color. “So long we haven’t seen ourselves reflected in media. Hell, we haven’t even seen ourselves reflected in this room. And I am so glad to see that changing and to see that broadening, and I want you to know to never give up,” Ross said. “Because your dreams matter, your stories matter, your lives matter. And no matter what challenge you’re faced with, you can overcome it. You can overcome it.”