Why Britney Spears May Be The Most Inspirational LGBT Icon Alive [Opinion]

Gabe Ginsberg Getty Images

Britney Spears just celebrated her 36th birthday. As W Magazine pointed out, she celebrated it by fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“Britney Spears, queen of pop and of Instagram, celebrated her 36th birthday on Saturday, December 2, by making a video she has long wanted to make,” says columnist Elizabeth Logan, adding that Spears fulfilled her dreams of singing Elvis Presley while dancing in a black dress.

Spears was so proud of the moment that she posted it on Instagram. Once again, as it usually happens after anything Britney Spears posts, the LGBT community exploded with excitement. There are some who wonder why Spears is considered such an icon for the LGBT community. After all, unlike Madonna, she didn’t exactly use her voice to actively support gay rights. Doing so could have hurt her career in the late 1990s.

Even after it became acceptable to support LGBT rights, Spears never set up any organizations for the cause like Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus. And as CNN pointed out, Britney once even said we should all support George W. Bush, the man who increased gay bashing to toxic (no pun there) levels by turning the anger towards gay marriage into the cornerstone of his election in 2004.

Britney Spears nervous breakdown
Britney Spears is a survivor.Featured image credit: Michael LoccisanoGetty Images

However, the reason Spears has become such an eternal LGBT icon is not because of anything she’s said, it’s because of what she has experienced and survived. She has always been treated unfairly, especially when she was suffering a very public nervous breakdown in the mid-2000’s. Instead of wishing her well, the media and general public dug their claws into her in order to make things worse. South Park even made a parody song that’s harsh, but meant to show how ridiculous Spears was treated.

However, despite that treatment, Britney Spears didn’t end up shooting herself. Instead, she improved herself. She got her life together, and she made a huge comeback with 2008’s Circus album and a very successful world tour. Britney’s albums haven’t sold well over the past five years, but she has just completed her Las Vegas residency, which — as Billboard recently mentioned, was a huge success.

“Piece of Me is going out on a high note, too. In November, it received four Gold Best of Las Vegas 2017 Awards, voted on by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It was named best production show, best resident performer/headliner, best bachelorette party and best bachelor party.”

The show was also a huge success as Britney sold almost 900,000 tickets and made almost $130 million. Performances make a lot more money than albums these days, so Britney is still a hot commodity. Ten years ago, things were so bad that nobody even expected her to live up to this point. And many in the LGBT community can identify with Britney’s journey.

Yes, it might seem tone deaf to compare the journey of the LGBT community with multi-millionaire Britney Spears, but doing so is important to understand why many in the LGBT idolize the singer. Like Spears, the LGBT community was a pariah up until ten years ago. Not only did Spears give the LGBT community songs that helped them through the difficult times, but her survival inspired many LGBT teens who were kicked to the curb by not only their families, but society on the whole.

Since many in the LGBT community had already idolized Spears for her music, videos, etc., her survival became an inspiration. Britney proved that no matter how unfairly you are knocked down, you can rise back up. And the LGBT community has risen up since 2008. Discrimination against the LGBT community is not only seen in a negative light, but gay marriage has also become legal nationwide since 2013. Of course, this isn’t solely Britney’s doing, but she has definitely been an inspiration.

Even though Spears doesn’t identify herself in any of the LGBT categories, she is eternally a part of the community. And she has become a part of the community just be existing and following her own road.