A tearful Colton Haynes accepted the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award with a heartfelt speech.

The Arrow star was visibly holding back tears throughout his acceptance for the award given for work in the LGBTQ community after going public about his sexuality earlier this year. “I’m asked to play so many different roles as an actor, but tonight I can actually be myself for the first time. It feels incredible,” he said.

He also reveals that coming out in the entertainment industry wasn’t easy, but he never made a decision to be gay. “That came just as naturally as the color of my eyes,” he said.

Haynes, who felt like he didn’t feel like he deserved the award considering the people who came before him, he said he’d accept the award as a promise. “I’m making [the promise] to the next generation 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,” he added.

The actor also took to Instagram after the speech to show his gratitude.

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