Tove Lo: Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community

For Gay Pride Month, Billboard asked numerous pop culture luminaries to write "love letters" to the LGBTQ community. Below, international pop singer-songwriter and LA Pride headliner Tove Lo shares hers. Read more Pride Month love letters here.

I’m a bisexual woman, who grew up in liberal Sweden with very liberal parents. I was lucky. I always felt free to explore my sexuality as little or as much as I wanted. Heterosexuality was still the norm around me, so I remember when I first thought ”I look at girls a lot too, not just boys.” I remember the first time I made out with a girlfriend. I remember fantasizing about girls. I remember the first time I had sex with a girl. I never came out to my parents or my friends. I just kinda did what I wanted with whomever I wanted. I always felt different (for various reasons), but I never felt ashamed or guilty or like there was something ”wrong" with me. Like I said, I was lucky.

I realized how lucky after growing up, becoming an artist, touring the world and getting to know the LGBTQ community across the globe.

I realized after listening to my friends' and fans' coming out stories. A lot of them happy, exciting and funny, but as many if not more of them sad, heartbreaking and infuriating.

I realized how much bravery and strength it takes every day, in a society that is filled with so much hate, just to be free to love. Free to be you.

It shouldn’t be a fight but it is. It’s a fight against everyone who thinks they have a right to tell you who you can or can’t love. How you can or can’t dress. Which bathroom you’re allowed to use based on how they define you. It’s a fight for your right to define yourself.

There are many ways to fight, I love to do it via celebration. I’ve come across many prude ignorants, who think PRIDE is nothing but a big dance party filled with glitter, rainbows and thongs (LIKE THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT?!). They don’t understand that it is the most brilliant and amazing way to make people feel included and accepted for who they are and want to be. I know I do. I can’t wait for these people to realize. And when they do, they’ll be welcomed with open arms. Cause when it comes to love and acceptance - the LGBTQ community has got it down.

The support I’ve gotten from the LGBTQ community has meant the world to me. Every show I play, every time someone throws a rainbow flag up on stage, I pick it up, I wave it around and the whole crowd cheers so loudly I can’t even hear the music anymore - I feel freer than ever. I thank you for that.

I see a community that every day has to fight for freedom. Fight for love. Fight to not be judged or abused. I see a community that has helped so many people in pain to heal, treat their scars and not only accept themselves but learn to love themselves. That is fucking powerful. Thank you for your open hearts, your courage, your strength, your ability to overshine hate with love. You inspire me every day.

Yours,

Tove Lo

Gay Pride Month 2017