At the Human Rights Campaign's Los Angeles gala Saturday night, the Grey's creator and writer explained that everything she writes is about loneliness.
"I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I only ever write about one thing: being alone," she said when accepting the Ally for Equality Award. "The fear of being alone, the desire to not be alone, the attempts we make to find our person, to keep our person, to convince our person to not leave us alone, the joy of being with our person and thus no longer alone, the devastation of being left alone. The need to hear the words: You are not alone.
"I'm normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks," she said. "Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50 percent of the population. Which means it ain't out of the ordinary."
Rhimes explained that what means the most to her is learning that her work has saved the lives of people who otherwise felt marginalized and alienated, and may have contemplated suicide.
"I get letters and tweets and people coming up to me on the street," she said. "Telling me so many incredible stories. The dad telling me about how something he saw on one of my shows gave him a way to understand his child when he came out. Or the teenagers — all the teenagers, man — who tell me they learned the language to talk to their parents about being gay or lesbian. The teenage girls who have found a community of peers and support online because of the Callie-Arizona relationship — Calzona. I get story after story.
"There were times in my youth when writing those stories in Shondaland quite literally saved my life. And now I get kids telling me it quite literally saves theirs. That is beyond humbling. And every single time it comes down to one thing: You are not alone. Nobody should be alone. So I write."
Grey's Anatomy is currently in its 11th season.
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