Pop icon Britney Spears is set to be honoured for being an LGBTQ supporter and ally at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
The multi-platinum, Grammy-winning star will receive the LGBTQ media lobby group’s Vanguard Award on Thursday, 12 April in Los Angeles.
The award is presented to media professionals “who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people”.
Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, Demi Lovato and Eric McCormack.
Spears, 36, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, is a longtime ally and supporter of the LGBTQ community, said GLAAD. She has consistently stood up for LGBTQ youth on GLAAD’s Spirit Day by going purple on social media to speak out against bullying.
In 2015, she released a Spirit Day video and promoted participation in the anti-bullying campaign by organising a meet-and-greet for LGBTQ fans, washing her stage at Planet Hollywood purple, and providing anti-bullying materials to concertgoers.
In 2016, she was among over 20 music artists to appear on GLAAD’s song Hands, released to remember the 49 lives taken in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.
In 2017, Spears was among 140 leading entertainers to speak out in an open letter against two anti-LGBTQ bills, which targeted transgender youth in Texas and were later defeated.
Spears also has a legacy of embracing her LGBTQ fans, said GLAAD. She wrote a highly publicised letter to a young gay man who considered suicide but credited her music and lyrics with giving him the courage to come out and be true to himself.
She wrote to him: “I was very happy to hear how courageous you’ve been about being openly gay. I’ve always been told as long as you know in your heart that’s what matters most.”
After a gay couple who met at a Britney show married, she surprised them with a touching video to send congratulations and show her support for marriage equality.
Most recently, for LGBTQ Pride Month in 2017, Spears penned a heart warming love letter to the LGBTQ community in which she shared that the community’s unwavering loyalty and acceptance uplift and inspire her.
“I have a secret to share with you. You see it’s actually you that lifts me up. The unwavering loyalty. The lack of judgment. The unapologetic truth. Acceptance! Your stories are what inspire me, bring me joy, and make me and my sons strive to be better people.”
“An irrefutable icon, Britney Spears has entertained the world while also embodying the spirit of GLAAD’s Vanguard Award by speaking out on significant issues that face her fans – from the Dream Act to anti-transgender bills in Texas,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.
“She is a force in the music world who has used her global platform to share messages of love and acceptance, something that the world needs today more than ever.”