LGBTQ community celebrates Ariana DeBose's historic Oscar win

NOW: LGBTQ community celebrates Ariana DeBose’s historic Oscar win

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Members of the LGBTQ community are celebrating Ariana DeBose's Oscar victory after she became the first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award.

In DeBose’s acceptance speech, she had an uplifting message that earned widespread praise for her performance as Anita in the remake of West Side Story.

"Now you see why Anita wants to be in America, because even in this weary world we live in, dreams come true,” DeBose said in her acceptance speech. "And that's really a heartening thing right now."

She also incorporated lyrics to the song “Somewhere”: "To anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever or find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us."

DeBose’s historic win sent shockwaves to groups like GSAFE, who works with LGBTQ youth in Madison.

“I think it was one of those moments of feeling seen and celebrated that we don’t get too often,” said Brian Juchems, co-executive director, GSAFE.

Juchems also praised DeBose’s recognition for theater and art programs he says often give LGBTQ individuals a space to get involved and express themselves.

“She talked about how her win was possible because she had access to arts when she was growing up, and that speaks to the importance of having that space for all kids.”

DeBose wasn’t the only one who made headlines talking about LGBTQ inclusion. Oscar co-host and LGBTQ+ advocate Wanda Sykes poked fun at Florida legislation recently passed that bans teachers from talking about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The “Don’t Say Gay" bill was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this month. The law bans such language in kindergartener to third grade classrooms. It comes as LGBTQ groups feel targeted as similar bills are being introduced across the country, Juchems said.

“I think last night's ceremony provided several moments showing people that people matter and they are loved and they are seen, said Juchems. “In particular for our young people who have been really under attack this year."

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