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Hilary Swank Discusses 'Boys Don't Cry' And The 'Beautiful' Progress Of LGBT Rights

Back in 1999, Hilary Swank's portrayal of real-life transgender man Brandon Teena became one of the first mainstream depictions of a largely marginalized sector of the LGBT community. Nearly 16 years later, the Oscar-winning actress marvels at how far America has come in recognizing and supporting those who aren't afraid to be who they are and love who they love.

Swank dropped by HuffPost Live on Thursday to discuss her work with Duracell to honor the sacrifices made by military families, which she knows well as the daughter of an Air Force father. During the conversation, host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani asked about the dichotomy between the era of "Boys Don't Cry" and now, when high-profile trans Americans like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox are on magazine covers and same-sex marriage is legal nationwide.

The actress said she was at home when she heard the Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage, and she had an emotional, joyful reaction.

"I broke into tears. It's been a really long time coming, and it's just such a beautiful moment for everybody," Swank said.

She added that her role in "Boys Don't Cry" and her long relationship with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a New York City center for LGBT youth, has made it easier to identify with people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions.

"With the work that I've done, just scratching the surface and walking in someone's shoes who lived that life, it gives you a little bit of a deeper understanding of what the world is like for some other people, and to celebrate our differences is a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful thing," she said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Hilary Swank here.

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