For nearly a decade, Pauley Perrette has played eccentric forensic scientist Abby Sciuto on the popular CBS drama NCIS.
The actress has also become a well-known civil rights activist who has been especially committed to LGBT equality and to raising money for the battle against AIDS.
In the early hours of the morning on Wednesday (13 June), Perrette watched the documentary Hollywood to Dollywood on a Los Angeles PBS station which tells the story of gay twins Gary Lane and Larry Lane and their cross country trip to deliver a movie script they'd written for their idol, Dolly Parton.
The film, released on DVD this month, is about a lot more than just driving an RV to Dollywood in Tennessee to meet Parton. It’s about the twins own feelings about being gay and how that is received by their family back home in North Carolina.
It's also about the people they meet along the way on their road trip, gay people who still live in the south and face discrimination and the threat of violence. Larry Lane talks in the film about a Dolly impersonator they met while in Arkansas who was stabbed outside a club.
This struck a nerve with Perrette.
'My LGBT friends have been gay bashed and beaten up – that’s happening now,' she says in a YouTube video she made while watching the film. 'It’s like 1961 in Montgomery, Alabama and Selma. My family is from there. It’s a disaster.'
'But I have to believe this will be over soon,' she adds. 'Please, let’s stop this. I can’t take it anymore. It’s going to be over soon I pray.”
To all LGBT people Perrette says: “You are loved, you are God’s child, you are perfect regardless of what you’ve been told if you’ve been told otherwise. No one has the right to discriminate against you or harm you because of who you are.”
She has this advice for people: “Use your vote, use your mind and most of all, use your heart. I’m proud of the fact that I know I’m on the right side of history.”
“The guys from Hollywood to Dollywood are the new freedom riders and I am too.”
The film, which has screened at dozens of film festivals worldwide in the past 12 months, now has the blessing of Parton who had nothing to do with its planning or production.
But after she saw the film, her management worked out a deal with the twins that allows them to use 15 of her songs in the film including such classics as I Will Always Love You, Jolene and Coat of Many Colors and two previously unreleased Parton tunes Celebrate the Dreamer in You and Sky is Not the Limit.
Below is Perrette's video and the trailer for Hollywood to Dollywood.