Christina Aguilera embraced her inner “Fighter” on Thursday night when she spoke out at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.
The “Dirrty” singer was in attendance to receive the organization’s advocate for change award, awarded to “a person who, through their work, has changed the game for LGBTQ people around the world.” Madonna and Bill Clinton previously received the award.
Presented her award by Michael Anderson, one of the survivors of the Club Q shooting in Colorado, Aguilera quickly thanked GLAAD and Anderson for the honor. “You have no idea how much this truly means to me,” she said. “This is the stuff that really matters in life.”
Launching into her speech, Aguilera spoke at length about her “lifelong” relationship with the LGBTQ community. “So much of who I am and what I do is because of each of you, and the shared experience of having to fight for equality and freedom in some capacity,” she said.
The “Genie in a Bottle” singer applauded the community for their continued endurance against an onslaught of attacks, especially from Republican legislators around the U.S. “I am constantly impressed by your examples of the courage it takes to fight for acceptance, respect and safety that every human being deserves,” she said. “When you’ve been a victim of violence, abuse or trauma, it is incredibly hard and scary to find your voice and fight back. Having grown up in a home with domestic violence, it was seeing my mom in a powerless position that first ignited the fire in me to speak up for all of the people whose voices don’t get heard.”
After speaking about her mission to “creatively empower others through my music,” Aguilera closed her speech by calling for queer people to keep up their fight for equality. “We all need to raise our voices if we want to live in a world that is free of discrimination, hate and violence,” she said. “My greater purpose is to use the platform I have to change lives for the better, so thank you GLAAD for this and for all that you do to make every voice in the LGBTQ community heard. We can’t help each other if we can’t hear each other.”
The singer was just one of the celebrities awarded on Thursday evening — Bad Bunny received the annual vanguard award for his allyship towards the community, while out Broadway star Jeremy Pope received the Stephen F. Kolzak award for his work in raising visibility for queer people in media.
Check out Christina Aguilera’s full acceptance speech at the GLAAD Media Awards below.