When Tasmanian-born Hannah Gadsby took to the stage on Saturday to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of Tasmania, true to herself she was comedic.
But that did not detract from the message behind her address.
"I'm autistic and as such, anxiety is only ever going to be my constant companion. But honestly I don't know how it's possible to not be anxious in this world and in this moment," she said.
UTAS vice-chancellor Rufus Black said an honorary degree was conferred on people who had given outstanding service to the Commonwealth state or university.
"The university council has elected to bestow this honour [doctor of literature] on Hannah Gadsby for her outstanding work as an international ambassador for the lives of all LGBTIQ+ people worldwide, and her profound impact on contemporary popular culture especially given her Tasmanian upbringing and interweaving of Tasmania into her work and stories," he said.
"In all her work, Hannah is intent on helping to humanise the human race, which means helping all of us to acknowledge painful truths while never giving up on the possibility of healing."
A comedian, writer, actor, and television presenter, Dr Gadbsy asked the room a question her spouse had asked her when she was anxious: don't panic, who do you want to be?
"That is the wisdom I want to share with you today, a question and it's not even mine, you're welcome," she said.
"Whatever your answer, know that if you ever become that person it will only be for one hot minute in one tiny universe because nothing in this world is ever static, especially not you."
Dr Gadsby shared that she now knew who she wanted to be, and that was a kind person.
She reflected on Tasmania, its "devastatingly brutal settlement", and her direct descension from the white settlers.
"I am both a benefactor and victim of the arrogance of colonial mentality. Change the date," she said.
Dr Gadsby used her speech to share her story of growing up on the North-West Coast, and how a vulnerable community was pitted against a marginalised community, manufacturing an "artificial identity of proud homophobia".
"That's where I grew up, and that traumatised me. But I stand here before you happy to say I am proud of being from the North-West Coast and I know they are proud of me too, so that backfired," she said.
"That is why I insist on telling my own stories ... the thing is, I can see these destructive patterns repeating themselves right now all over the world again and again."
Dr Gadsby said true leaders stood for people and would not stand against some people.
"So I ask you, who do you want to be? Do you want to be a leader motivated by acts of inclusion or defined by measures of exclusion?," she said.
"Try your best to be someone you want to be."
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