Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood

Los Angeles: Newly-engaged Evan Rachel Wood has been honoured by the Human Rights Campaign for her public support of the gay and lesbian community.

Wood took home the Visibility Award during the organisation's gala dinner in Charlotte, North Carolina and used her acceptance speech to share her own struggle to accept her sexuality, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Noting that she feels a responsibility to shed light on issues faced by the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community, the "Westworld" star said, "As an actor, my job is to look at a stranger and find myself in them - to connect the dots, to have such empathy for a character that I can read someone else¿s words and be moved to tears.

"Turning empathy into vulnerability... and it wasn't until I saw the effect that it had on other people that I really started to see how powerful really allowing your most vulnerable parts to be seen was. I saw another side to what I did, and it was the power of visibility."

Wood also noted her attraction to both women and men from the age of 12 didn't initially seem strange or out of the ordinary. "I thought women were beautiful but because I was born that way I never once stopped to think that was strange or anything to fear. I also thought that men were beautiful."

Following the ceremony, the 29-year-old tweeted a video of her speech and expressed her gratitude to the Human Rights Commission.

"If I never make another speech in my life, I'm glad I made this one," she wrote. "Thank you @HRC for letting me share and connect."

Wood recently announced her engagement to Zach Villa, her bandmate in musical duo Rebel and a Basketcase. She shares a son with her actor ex Jamie Bell, who she was married to from 2012 to 2014.