Lady Gaga may have a song called “Born This Way,” and Ariana Grande may have been called the biggest gay icon of this generation by Billboard, but these two exciting and groundbreaking divas have nothing on Britney Spears, who will receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award for her consistent groundbreaking work with the LGBT community.
According to PinkNews, the pop megastar will receive the Vanguard Award at the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards on April 12 in Los Angeles. There are some who think that Britney isn’t deserving of the honor, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Britney Spears never needed to make cheesy dance songs that rip off much older songs while disguising them as “gay anthems.” She doesn’t need to constantly make appearances and remind everybody that she “loves the gays.” Spears is a gay icon just for being herself and inspiring many in the LGBT community to love themselves no matter what.
It’s hard to explain to straight people how Britney’s breakdown period last decade (and the comeback that followed) inspired so many people in the LGBT community. But if you lived in a world that condemned you to suicide for being yourself, it would be easier to understand. You may say that things have changed for the LGBT community, and they have. Still, ten years ago, the LGBT community was the most marginalized group in the world. So many LGBT youths were bullied into committing suicide.
However, many young people in the LGBT community credit Britney Spears for helping them accept themselves and rise up “like a phoenix” when they lost friends, were kicked out of their homes and beat up physically just for being themselves. But besides being an inspiration for the way she lived, Spears has done a lot of other things for the LGBT community.
As Billboard notes, Spears not only helped raise funds for those involved in Orlando’s 2016 nightclub massacre, but she also raised awareness throughout her career for anti-bullying initiatives. She also supported same-sex marriage when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. She has become a walking figure that represents LGBT equality.
It’s true that past generations had LGBT icons that deserve more credit than Spears. Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, and Roseanne Barr promoted LGBT rights at a time when the LGBT community was treated as a terrorist group. All three of these icons deserve far more credit than they are usually given.
However, as George W. Bush declared war on the LGBT community by trying to pass a constitutional amendment to take away their rights last decade, the LGBT community needed a younger icon they could identify with. And Britney Spears became that icon. And she used her status to help bring a generation of young LGBT people together. For that, she deserves far more than just a GLAAD award.