In the past year, the LGBTQ community has taken tremendous steps forward in terms of representation. Nevertheless, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals remain the most likely targets of hate crimes in America. And there’s no denying that Americans are living under an administration that’s decidedly unfriendly to LGBTQ people, making this year’s Pride celebrations that much more necessary.
Each June, in honor of Pride Month, people of all genders, sexual identities, races and faiths come together to uplift the LGBTQ community. Brands, publications and celebrities offer their voices and profits to the LGBTQ cause.
Yesterday, Billboard kicked things off by publishing a series of “love letters” to the LGBTQ community penned by pop kings and queens. Celebs including Selena Gomez, Céline Dion, Lea Michele and Sia shared poignant messages of gratitude, encouragement and solidarity. Here are some of the more moving passages:
“I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by so many beautiful people from the LGBTQ community throughout my entire career… from talented performers, musicians, producers and songwriters, to colleagues who have contributed significantly to my success, and last but not least, to so many of my loyal fans who have stood by me, in the name of love. All of you have made such a positive impact on my life, and I hope and pray that our world will continue to better understand that acceptance and tolerance are virtues that we can never have enough of.” — Céline Dion
“My co-writer Justin Tranter couldn’t believe I had never seen the Madonna documentary Truth or Dare and so while we were in Mexico he sat me down to watch it with him. I loved it and was especially struck by how groundbreaking it was for the gay rights movement and how far LGBTQ rights have come in my lifetime. There is still a significant amount of work to do and I look forward to the day when a person is never judged, discriminated or feared for their sexuality.” — Selena Gomez
“One story that stands out and I will always remember was when a little girl with her two moms came up to me after seeing Glee and told me that she was ‘as cool as Rachel Barry’ because Rachel had to dads and she had two mommies. That comment really hit home and I was so proud to be a part of such an important television show as well as so proud of the way we honored and represented the LGBTQ community. Pride is a strong word and one I don’t use lightly but there is no better word to represent and celebrate this incredible community of people. I send all my love to the LGBTQ community.” — Lea Michele
“I remember the day someone forwarded me a video set to my song ‘breathe me’ of a thirteen year old boy called Jonah Mowry. He was detailing his internal landscape as a young gay male in the world, and how depressed he was. I have been blessed to be surrounded by the queer community, in New York, in LA, where there is far more acceptance and positive self image, and so seeing him struggle was an important moment for me as a ‘human with the privilege of a platform’. In that moment I decided to dedicate myself to the queer community in a more meaningful way. I am so very grateful for my queer community and would have withered away long ago without them. Specifically my manager David, who has held my hand now for 12 years, through light and dark. He recently came out publicly as HIV positive, and the transformation of his shame into self acceptance has been magic to watch. I am so happy and proud of him. I can without question say I wouldn’t have made it without my queer friends, both personally and professionally, and I am forever grateful to God for creating them in all their glory.” — Sia
Head over to Billboard to read the full series.