Janelle Monae ‘deeply humbled’ after being honoured as LGBTQ+ trailblazer

Non-binary musician and actress Janelle Monae has been presented with the “Trailblazer Award” at the 40th Annual Outfest Legacy Awards, telling the audience “I feel like I’m at my church tonight,” as she collected her award.

Janelle Monae (Getty Images)



The award recognises Monae’s long history of philanthropy and activism for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I feel like I am in church and I am with people that feel me and see me and understand me,” she continued, dressed in an all-leather outfit with a tipped black hat.

“I’m just deeply humbled and just so thankful and at a loss for real words to match my feelings. So just accept my thank you. Thank you so much.”

Janelle Monáe feels “beyond the binary” and falls in love with a person’s “energy first” rather than their gender identity. (Paras Griffin/Getty for BET)


Outfest is described as “the leading LGBTQIA+ arts and entertainment organisation empowering storytellers to transform the world.”

The awards are an annual celebration catered to the LGBTQ community in the film and television industry, giving recognition to influential ‘changemakers’ in Hollywood.

‘She’s a beacon of living free’

Janelle Monae is set to star in the sequel to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, which features Daniel Craig as gay detective Benoit Blanc.

Johnson has said he was unsurprised Monae was chosen to receive the award, giving a short speech before presenting Monae with the honour onstage at Paramount Studios.

“It’s not shocking to me that she’s getting this award, because you know, if I open up the dictionary in my brain and look up the word ‘trailblazer’, it’s just like a whole single-page spread of Janelle’s face,” Johnson said.

“She’s a beacon of living free and out loud and what that looks like and she wants that for other people too. She walks the walk.”

Janelle Monáe attends Netflix “Glass Onion” world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Netflix)


Speaking on the red carpet for the event, Monae reflected on the activism of the night’s honorees and called Outfest’s legacy a “big deal”.

“Visibility is important for the next generation to see; like, ‘I have community, I have people putting in real effort to make sure that I’m seen, that I’m heard, that I’m present,” she said.

“I think that we obviously have a lot of work to continue to do, but the work they’ve done over the last 40 years, that’s a big deal.”



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