Kit Steinkellner
September 09, 2015 12:49 pm

We’re big Matt McGorry fans over here. Obviously onscreen he makes us feel things we didn’t even KNOW we could feel as correctional officer John Bennett in Orange is the New Black.  Plus, plus, plus when he’s not working the camera, he’s using his spare time to be an A+ feminist.

He’s publicly take a stand against the gender wage gap,  worked with the White House on their “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault, and, just recently wrote an essay on his relationship with feminism for Cosmopolitan that blew us away.

Entitled “How Becoming a Feminist Felt Like Falling in Love,” McGorry explains that it was Emma Watson’s now famous U.N. “He for She” speech that caused such a seismic shift within him. Though he had been raised in a house that taught his that it was just as okay for men to be sensitive as it was for women to be strong, it was Watson’s speech that really triggered something inside of McGorry and ultimately changed him.

“One of the most thrilling and deeply moving experiences in life is the pants-sh*tting feeling you get when you realize you’ve met someone who will force you to grow in ways you’d never previously imagined possible,” McGorry tells us. “You feel like your boundaries are being pushed and your worldview is shifting. It’s terrifying, but it’s also one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling emotional states you can know. This is the internal stirring I had the moment I heard Watson’s words.”

Watson’s speech made McGorry realize that he could no longer remain silent about gender equality. Not that this was an easy thing for the actor, who, up until this point, had remained quiet-ish on social issues.

“Given my resistance to speaking out on social issues in the past, my tears were a moment of passionate realization that I could and would no longer remain quiet,” McGorry explains.  “It scared me. What kind of resistance would I encounter from fans, haterz, other people in the industry, and even those who supported the same movement but thought that I was going about it wrong or opportunistically? Would I risk ostracizing myself? But the thing was, I didn’t f–king care. It would be easy to say nothing, just like it would be easy to avoid love by curling into an emotional fetal position every time you were confronted by someone with the capacity to push you, change you, and challenge you to explore all those terrifying nooks and crannies of your psyche. But, as humans have known for all of their existence, most good things in life require difficulty and courage. Also known as, YOLO.”

McGorry is committed to being the best ally he can be in issues like the fight for both gender and racial equality, and supporting the transgender and gender non-conforming communities, and he has a handle on what it means to be a great ally.

“…I acknowledge that my own privilege affords me the luxury of this cushy and positive outlook on fighting inequalities and injustices. I have the choice to confront these issues — they aren’t implicit in my life due to my gender, the color of my skin, my sexual preference, or any other parts of who I am as a person.

I don’t know where my new passions will take me next, but I do know that however they evolve, I will always be changed, and at least some part of the world around me will therefore be changed too. My hope is to follow the love and continue to learn what it means to be the best ally that I can be.”

The entire essay is hilarious and wise and well-worth the read. McGorry is doing important work, showing men how to be great allies to women and showing people with privilege how they can best support protected groups. We are so impressed with the role-model example McGorry is setting. As if we needed more reasons to love him, as if!

Related:

Stars like Josh Hutcherson are putting their fame to great use in this PSA about consent

Thought you had a crush on Matt McGorry before? Well, his wage gap stance is about to make that crush that much bigger

(Image via Netflix)

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