Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto criticised President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind public-school bathroom rules for transgender students as he received an Oscar Wilde Award.
The Hollywood star, who is openly gay, urged the public to “fight for people who are striving to find their way in this world” as he was honoured by the US-Ireland Alliance in California.
Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga, actor Martin Short, singer-songwriter Glen Hansard and actress Caitriona Balfe also received Oscar Wilde Awards, which recognise the contributions of Irish people in film, television and music.
Accepting his award, Zachary, who is half Irish, said as “an openly gay man in Hollywood” he had been inspired by Wilde’s “inability to back down”.
“I feel like as far as we’ve come in the last 120 years, there are protests going on tonight about the reversal of protections for transgender children in this country,” he said.
“I believe it is all of our responsibilities to stand up and be authentic and be visible and fight for people who are striving to find their way in this world, even if it is not reflected back in the same way as everybody else.
“Oscar Wilde is someone who taught me that before I even knew it.”
Zachary – who plays Spock in the rebooted Star Trek films – was presented with his award by his co-star Chris Pine, who portrays Captain Kirk.
Ruth received her Oscar Wilde Award three days before she discovers if she has won the best actress Oscar for her role in Loving.
The films tells the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple behind the pivotal 1967 civil rights case Loving v Virginia.
On stage, the Irish-Ethiopian star said: “I’m very touched by how many people it’s inspired.
“I hope people search out this couple and find out more about them.”
Canadian actor Martin spoke of his relatives in Britain and Ireland as he accepted his award, including his cousin, former government minister Clare Short.
He described Clare as a “tough, outspoken Labour Party firebrand” who had “resigned from Tony Blair’s government because she found the war in Iraq illegal”.
The event was hosted by film-maker JJ Abrams at the headquarters of his Bad Robot production company in Santa Monica, California.
On stage, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director paid tribute to late actress Carrie Fisher, who received an Oscar Wilde Award in 2015.
“2016 was a weird one,” he said.
“It must be mentioned that in addition to other various tragedies over the last 12 months, we lost a dear friend and former Oscar Wilde honouree Carrie Fisher.
“As Stephen Fry said here two years ago when we honoured Carrie, she had a genius for life and friendship. I can attest to that fact and we’ll miss her dearly.”