Thirty singers, actors and entertainers have penned touching “love letters” to the LGBTQ community to mark the start of Pride Month in the US.
Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes wrote in his letter, published by Billboard.com, that he had eliminated “the shame I felt about being who I truly was” and reflected on the importance of Pride.
“I’m so grateful to all the men and women who came before me, who fought so valiantly to create a world where today, to be openly LGBTQ is not only a possibility but a moment of celebration,” he wrote.
“We still have so much further to go, but it’s so important to understand the importance of Pride as an opportunity to be visible and celebrate the freedom to be who we are.
“I didn’t always love myself, but I do today.”
Sia explained that several years ago she dedicated herself to the queer community because “I wouldn’t have made it without my queer friends, both personally and professionally, and I am forever grateful to God for creating them in all their glory.
“Specifically my manager David, who has held my hand now for 12 years, through light and dark. He recently came out publicly as HIV positive, and the transformation of his shame into self acceptance has been magic to watch. I am so happy and proud of him,” the singer wrote.
US performer Melissa Etheridge wrote that her queer fans “make me a better person every day.”
“To every person who has told me that my coming out helped them in their journey to be who they truly are, I say you are the beautiful gift I receive every day,” she wrote.
In his letter, Sir Elton John thanked his queer fans for “accepting me – even when others didn’t.”
“Thank you for never judging – even when times were tough. Thank you for always embracing my music – even after all these years,” he wrote.
“This Pride Month, I’m celebrating you. You’ve showed the world that people of all creeds, colors, and cultures can come together to enjoy the music of an openly gay artist like me. And more than that, you’ve showed the world that we are all worthy of love.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that thanks to you, society is becoming more just, more loving, and more compassionate. That is something we can be proud of – not just this month, but every month and every day of the year.”
All 30 letters can be read in full on Billboard Magazine’s website.