As part of Billboard’s 30 Days of Pride celebration this June, we asked numerous pop culture luminaries to write ‘love letters’ to the LGBTQ community. Read them below and share your love letter to the community using #30DaysPride this Gay Pride Month.
I want to take this moment to sincerely give thanks and express my love back to the LGBTQ community that has given so much love, beauty, inspiration, and light in every corner of the world. You inspire so many with strength, courage, humility, and compassion through the struggles and pain that sometimes only you may know.
Throughout my career as a Korean-American living between Korea and the U.S., there have been times where I felt culturally misunderstood, lost, and alone. The focus on self-love, unconditional love, acceptance, freedom of expression, and hope are a few of the uplifting themes the LGBTQ community have continuously inspired me with, making a huge positive impact on my life by giving me the courage to keep going during the times I felt there was nowhere to go. I’m thankful and blessed to be able to work with and love so many amazing individuals in the LGBTQ community that have contributed so much love to my art and my life.
I write this letter to send you words of love and encouragement. Though there is so much more to accomplish, together, you grow stronger and more beautiful. You are unstoppable. The unity and equality shown at the Pride March every year speak the truth on how this world can grow to be a better place through your example. I stand by you and celebrate you not only on this day but every day.
I want to tell you that I believe in people.
I want to tell you that I believe we fall in love with other human beings, sometimes once, sometimes more, sometimes surprisingly, sometimes unrequited.
I want to tell you that I believe an essential way of nurturing my own happiness is by nurturing happiness in others.
I want to tell you a story about my younger brother Daniel, who was born profoundly deaf. He missed out on kids playground chatter, peripheral gossip, what the actual words were when kids would shout across the grass and taunt each other.
Fast forward, he is in his early twenties, and we are sitting in a local bar, talking. It transpired in that bar conversation that Dan had absolutely no idea that kids with red hair got bullied for it.
“Why?” He asked, totally incredulous.
“I don’t know,” I said weakly, “maybe because they look different.”
“But…they don’t.” said Dan.
“No. They don’t.” I said.
That story always reminds me how I feel about you, the LGBTQ community. Incredulous that conditioning has the power to completely shut down our natural desire to question things. Incredulous that we can subscribe to ways of thinking that not only harms ourselves but can deeply harm others around us.
I want to tell you that I truly believe a day will come when we human beings look back at this time and laugh through the sadness at how ridiculous and cruel and misguided society could be towards people within your community.
Like us looking back at medieval barbarism.
I’m sorry it can hurt so bad.
I’m sorry some people take their fear and hold it against you.
Please know that so many of us wish to hold you as high as we can, cheer wildly for you, and love you. There is nothing else like you. You are incredible.
I want to say Thank You.
My LGBTQIA+ family, happy pride month to us!
I never really know what to write when I’m doing this kind of thing. but I always know what I want to say. you’re not alone. I’m not alone. We are never alone. Our stories are different, but our feelings are the same. we share a sacred bond. And we are in this thing together. For every time we’ve felt alone or abandoned or weird or like outsiders, we stand together as one. Hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart, one.
I know what it’s like to sit in a church pew listening to a man tell me I’m “unnatural” and “distorted.” I know what it’s like to be forced out of a church and a community. I know what it’s like to hide myself. To hide my heart. And I also know what it’s like to speak the words I never thought I could or would. And what it’s like to find safety and acceptance and celebration. To finally be able to accept myself and love myself for all of me.
Things that I never thought I’d see. My parents sitting across the table from someone I love. Walking into a church with a gay pastor. Texting with my grandma about boys. I can’t even tell you how much these things mean to me.
I stand with you and sit with you and see you and hear you and I CELEBRATE you. I validate every single part of you. As uniquely yours.
And I THANK YOU for giving me a voice and for sharing in my story. I thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone.
We must never ever forget where we’ve been. Our past is someone’s present. And so I give you all of my love and I give you my whole heart. And I give you a warm smile and a hand reaching out.