Throughout her decades-long career, pop superstar Cyndi Lauper has been a loud and proud advocate for the LGBTQ community. Especially with her nonprofit charity organization True Colors United, which is aimed at ending homelessness for LGBTQ youth, Lauper has always made sure her voice is being used for good.
On Tuesday night, the icon was awarded for her efforts by the United Nations at her Home for the Holidays benefit concert. The organization presented Lauper with their first-ever High Note Global Prize, an award that will be given to artists who use their significant platforms to fight for social justice.
Kesha appeared alongside UN Human Rights’ chief external officer Laurent Sauveur to present the award to Lauper. “Cyndi has stated that ‘We each have a personal responsibility to make sure LGBTQ youth are treated with dignity and respect,'” Kesha said during her remarks. “And I couldn’t agree more.”
Pop icon Cher also made a brief appearance via video to congratulate her friend on receiving the UN honor. “I’m so excited for you to get your award, I wish I was there with you,” Cher said. “But no one deserves this award more than you do. And I know you, and I love you. So have a wonderful night and just bathe in the glory.”
In her acceptance speech, Lauper thanked everyone who helped her get to where she is today, but also took a moment to call out the “disproportionate” number of LGBTQ youth who are homeless, citing statistics that while roughly 7 percent of the youth population in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ, up to 40 percent of all homeless youth are queer. “They’re only on the street because they’re LGBTQ,” she said in her speech. “This is fixable, with programs and advocacy and safe places where they will not be turned away.”
Along with receiving her honor from the UN, Lauper also lended the stage to (and occasionally shared it with) major queer talent at her Home for the Holidays concert, including stars Billy Porter, Justin Tranter, King Princess, Brandi Carlile and many more.