In a letter posted by People, Aguilera spoke candidly about her connection with the queer people everywhere, saying that she felt her actions have spoken to the community for years. “I’m all about people standing up for what they believe in, which is why I think the LGBTQ+ community feels connected to me,” she wrote. “We’ve all come from struggle; we’ve all had to fight to be heard.”
Aguilera went on to say that when she thinks of her relationship to queer and trans folks, her 2002 album Stripped immediately comes to mind as yet another similarity between herself and her LGBTQ fans. “I did not want to be this safe, conventionally pretty, precious thing,” she shared. “So, for my 2002 album Stripped, I decided, ‘I’m just going to be myself.’ It was the first album where I told stories that I really believed in.”
One of those stories was “Beautiful,” the singer’s emotive ballad that has long been heralded as a gay anthem, thanks in part to its inclusive music video, which featured a gay couple and a trans woman — something that was deeply uncommon back in 2002. “It was somehow taboo at the time, but it represented something so true,” she recalled. “I still hear stories about how that video has helped people, and it means everything to me.”
The “Genie In a Bottle” singer also made it clear that the relationship between her and her LGBTQ fans goes both ways, and that she has felt seriously uplifted by the queer people she’s become close with over the years. “They’ve allowed me the freedom to be myself and share my deepest, darkest secrets with them,” she said. “I left the house very young to pursue a label deal, and my mom was busy raising my younger brother, so it was a lot of navigating on my own. On the road, my glam squad became my support system and family.”
In closing her message, Aguilera encouraged fans to come see her at L.A. Pride in the Park on June 11, where she will be headlining alongside LGBTQ acts including Anitta, Syd, Chika, and Michaela Jaé, and to celebrate the season.
“I feel safe with them to express myself however I want, whether it be through a huge ballad or something super sensual because they appreciate it all,” she said. “I get to be as colorful and loud as I want to be. They’re my people.”