Pride Month 2020: Fighting bathroom bill to marriage inequality, Jay Z and Beyoncé are powerful LGBTQ+ allies
The couple took a significant stance in supporting the community when they accepted GLAAD Media's Vanguard Award in Los Angeles last year
As we draw near to the end of Pride Month 2020, we can't forget to honor heterosexual celebrities for their earnest alliance with the LGBTQIA++ community. Jay-Z and Beyoncé, a straight married couple and a powerful duo in the music industry, have used their platforms to endorse queer identities.
In 2012, Jay-Z told CNN, "I've always thought it as something that was still, um, holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love." He added, "No different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple." The hip-hop mogul also included a quote from celebrated gay writer James Baldwin in the opening of his 'Family Feud' music video about the strength of a family. "The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply: life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have." Trans activist Janet Mock also has a cameo in the video as a "founding mother".
In March last year, the couple took a significant stance in supporting the community when they accepted GLAAD Media's Vanguard Award in Los Angeles. Their heartfelt speeches began with Jay-Z honoring his mother Gloria Carter — a lesbian whose story was shared on Jay-Z's 'Smile' (from his 2017 LP '4:44') and who received a Special Recognition at last year’s awards ceremony in New York. He shared his mother's lifelong struggle to conceal her lesbianism in favor of her children and her culture. Jay-Z said he was "following in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance", and thanked his mom for allowing him to tell her story. He also added, "This journey is filled with highs, lows and a lot of learning." The lyrics on 'Smile' include, "Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian. Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian. Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate. Society shame and the pain was too much to take."
During her speech, Beyoncé said, "We’re here to promote love for every human being. And change starts with supporting the people closest to you." She continued, "So let’s tell them they are loved. Let’s remind them that they are beautiful, let’s speak out and protect them. And parents, let’s love our kids in their truest form." The songstress also requested, "That we continue to shift the stigmas in this community, especially the stigmas in black families towards queer black and brown men and women."
Beyoncé's track record of advocacy for the LGBTQIA++ community is impeccable. In 2013, Beyoncé was an outspoken advocate for marriage equality. When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, the singer even created a short LGBTQIA++-themed version of her '7/11' video to celebrate with her fans. In 2016, Beyoncé supported her transgender fans when she promoted the 'Y’all Means All' campaign aimed at overturning North Carolina’s discriminatory "bathroom bill", along with urging her fans to donate money to GLSEN following President Donald Trump's rollback of Obama-era protections of trans students in public schools.
Dubbed as "the most powerful black people in the country" by GLAAD Media presenter Lena Waithe, this husband-and-wife team remain powerful allies in the LGBTQIA++ community and it is always uplifting to see a couple united in their beliefs for change.