The actor was honored for his work in the LGBTQ community

By Oliver Gettell
August 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Colton Haynes accepted the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award over the weekend with a heartfelt speech in which he pledged to set an example for future generations of LGBTQ youth.

The Teen Wolf and Arrow actor, who publicly came out as gay in an interview with EW earlier this year, took the stage at the HRC Seattle Gala on Saturday and expressed appreciation for being part of a community that believes “equality is our birthright. It’s not a slogan.”

Admitting his reservations about being honored, Haynes continued, “I don’t necessarily feel especially deserving of this recognition. We all know that there are many other ways, many other people who have come before me and blazed the trail as LGBT advocates and role models. And I’m walking in their shoes and I’m following their lead.”

Fighting back tears, Haynes said he would “accept this award as a promise. My promise is simple and real, and I’m not making it to you. I’m making it to the next generations of lesbians and gay men, bisexuals, and transgender youth, and I hope my example will give them the confidence and hope to be who they are as well.”

Watch Haynes’ full acceptance speech below.

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