Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Filipino/American wins Human Rights Campaign award for gay role

Conrad Ricamora accepts the Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign.

Reprinted from AsAm News

CONRAD RICAMORA, who plays a gay character in the hit series How to Get Away with Murder on ABC, received the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award last month in Cleveland, reports LGBTQ Nation.

Ricamora was born in Manila. His father is of Filipino descent and his mother is German and Irish.

“I will say that it’s a little ironic to be getting the Visibility Award because so much of growing up as a kid was spent trying to be invisible,” said Ricamora. 

Ricamora grew up in Niceville, Florida (Yes, that's real place.) "That's just a little south of Alabama, he said. 

“It was rough, not only being gay, but having the colored skin that I have. I was terrified that someone would see me as gay and I was also terrified that I would see myself for what I naturally was.”

Ricamora began in 2014 playing the recurring role of Oliver, but by season 3 became a series regular. He is the only openly gay Asian American character on prime time television.

In a highlight reel prior to accepting the award, Ricamora said, “I want to tell any kid that is not living in a diverse community, that may be out in a small town somewhere, that feels ashamed of the shape of their eyes, or the color of their skin or who they are attracted to naturally, that you are loved.”

He originated the role of Ninoy Aquino in the Off-Broadway hit musical Here Lies Love. It was a chance for Ricamora to embrace his heritage, but also tell a new story and represent the Asian-American acting community. “Bringing acceptance and promoting equality and justice for Asian-Americans of all types is just really important,” he said.

Ricamora finished by thanking his parents “for providing the space and acceptance to grow into who I am.”

(Views From the Edge contributed to this report.)