This morning, GLADD revealed that Britney Spears will be the latest recipient of the Vanguard Award at the nonprofit's upcoming GLAAD Media Awards, making her the latest female pop singer to earn the distinction. She follows in the footsteps of fellow heavyweights like Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, and of course, Cher, who was the first major musician to accept the trophy.
While Britney has been a favorite in the gay community for essentially the entirety of her decades-long career, she didn’t earn this honor because of her chart-topping hits or her pop culture clout. The “Slumber Party” singer has a well-documented history of supporting her LGBTQ fans and has proven to be more than worthy of the recognition.
1. Her Letter for Billboard Pride
As part of its first-ever Pride Month initiative, Billboard’s newly-launched Pride vertical asked musicians who identify as LGBTQ or who support that community to write letters to those celebrating last June. Spears hand wrote her note, and though it’s short, it’s truly touching, and it’s easy to understand how much love she has for her gay fans with a quick read.
Her letter hits home and strikes a chord as it concludes with the following lines:
“...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.”
2. Kissing Madonna
When Britney and Christina Aguilera joined Madonna on stage at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, there was no way the moment wouldn’t go down as one of the most memorable collaborations in the ceremony’s history...but nobody in the audience could have predicted what was to come. Britney was the first to smooch with the legendary pop star and it would be months before people stopped talking about the kiss that rocked the world.
Did the two pop singers pull the stunt for publicity to help promote their projects at the time? Probably, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t also a big moment for gay fans of the artists all around the world, especially those coming of age and working out their sexualities when it first took place.
3. Singing on “Hands”
After the horrific Pulse Nightclub massacre that took place in Orlando, two dozen musicians came together to record a song that would serve not only as a tribute to those who were harmed and their loved ones, but also to raise money for those affected. Britney lent her famous vocals to “Hands” alongside fellow superstars like Selena Gomez, Pink, Gwen Stefani, and Mary J. Blige for the Justin Tranter–penned charity single.
4. Support of Spirit Day
The pop songstress got into the “Spearit” back in 2015 when she recorded a short video for GLAAD (an organization she has supported for many years, and which is now happy to honor her for that commitment) and then turned her Las Vegas residency purple in honor of Spirit Day, when young people are encouraged to wear the color to be themselves or show support for those who identify as LGBTQ. She has taken part in the annual celebration in years since as well.
5. Her Support of Trans Rights
While she’s not much of an activist (at least in the loudest sense of the word), Britney has lent her name to political causes when she feels strongly about them, which have included gay-rights issues. In one instance, the singer signed an open letter drafted by GLAAD that urged politicians in Texas to oppose laws that would restrict which restroom transgender people could use. She was one of 140 people who signed on including dozens of well-known musicians. Britney’s inclusion made news because she isn’t known to be overly political, so when she’s involved, it turns heads.
Congrats on the award, Britney! Your gay fans are proud of you and they love you too!
Next, check out why Tinashe also loves Britney (she has her own reasons):