As part of Billboard’s 30 Days of Pride celebration this June, numerous pop culture luminaries have written ‘love letters’ to the LGBTQ community. Read them below and share your love letter to the community using #30DaysPride this Gay Pride Month.
AJ Mclean of Backstreet Boys
I started doing musical theater at a young age and I was introduced to a whole new world of people — gay and straight — and I fell in love. My world was inclusive, we were all equals, and nobody was better or less than. That’s what the LGBTQ community stands for in my mind — unity, freedom, compassion, knowing, understanding, and loving yourself and being clear about your worth. Being true to yourself no matter what, and knowing that no one can bring you down.
I love that my two daughters see no color and that they see no sexual orientation, they only see love and that’s the way I want to raise my beautiful girls in a society that is unified, full of love, compassion and zero tolerance for hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and hate.
To the LGBTQ community: I love you; I cherish you; I respect you; I admire you and you inspire me every day to be a better father, a better husband, and a better person.
I am so proud to love and honor the LGBTQ community this month and every month.
I am proud to learn from and look up to my most precious friends and artists and colleagues within that community who make me a better person, and make this world a more colorful, diverse, tolerant, loving place to be.
In a time in this life that feels so divided and binary, I am proud to embrace movements that work toward inclusion. Acceptance. Understanding.
I am proud that I get to be alive to witness the incredible strides and accomplishments of this wildly passionate network of thinkers, organizers, artists, and activists who after years and years of effort and struggle and protests and pain managed to turn the White House RAINBOW COLORS so it could shine as a symbol of progress and change.
I am proud to be a friend, supporter, and believer and to stand with the LGBTQ community to help make room in this world for everyone. EVERYONE.
They continue to be leaders and pioneers in love, and that’s my kind of army.
We live in very distracting times. From divisive world leaders to new technology, lots of things want to pull us away from interacting with one another and having shared experiences that might bring compassion and empathy. It strikes me that maybe every generation is faced with a decision; to absorb knowledge but let a status quo exist in which we go along with ideas and messages passed along from outdated leaders of another time, or actively work to make changes. To recognize that change is necessary can be complex in itself, but to act on it in our everyday lives takes courage and bravery. But the rewards mean we all might get to express our identity more fully.
I started writing songs because there was something inside me that I could only express that way. And like everyone, I’m trying to understand more about myself and how we all exist in the world. How do we unite around forces of good, can we mend, move forward, make better and live in this world together? Music and drawing became my ways of figuring stuff out when I was a kid — working through problems by playing the guitar, letting my mind wander with paint or a pencil in my hand. That’s stayed a constant in my life — exploring the best and worst of emotions or situations, real and imagined, through creativity. I envisioned a future characterized by giving people what they might not have known they wanted, and I’m grateful for a world which celebrates experimentation. We are all learning.
My job means I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world and see first-hand how the bravery of others means our world is becoming more conscious, loving and most importantly, more equal. And that should be celebrated every day.
Let’s encourage each other and believe in the power of individuality.
Before The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills introduced Erika Jayne to the world, the LGBTQ+ community was right there supporting me. They bought my records, came to my shows, and rooted for my TV journey. They made me feel free and empowered to be exactly as I am — sparkly and over the top. I’ve had the privilege of knowing many incredible people from the LGBTQ+ community in my life — family members, friends, mentors, teachers; people who have taught me so much about authenticity, the power of being unique, and what it means to be truly confident in your own skin.
I love when Pride Month sweeps the country each year so that we can properly celebrate this bright community that brings so much to our world. And if anyone knows how to celebrate, it’s the LGBTQ+ community, honey! Happy Pride! Thank you for showing me how to be bold and brave and not give a [email protected]#k.
To read more letters visit Billboard.