Demi Lovato's GLAAD Award Speech Is A Moving Tribute To The LGBT Community — VIDEO
Following a blue carpet in Beverly Hills Saturday night, Demi Lovato accepted GLAAD's Vanguard Award in honor of her support and advocacy for the LGBT community. The prestigious award was presented to the singer by longtime friend and Camp Rock (remember that?) co-star Nick Jonas, and accepting it, Lovato gave a moving speech that showed just how much winning the honor meant to her. As Variety reports, in the course of her touching, off-script speech, the Confident singer spoke from the heart, offering insight into her own upbringing by telling the packed audience.
"I grew up with friends that were gay and who were afraid to come out and one thing that I did have was a safe environment that my family raised me in... they raised me not to judge, not to think differently of people or find it weird or uncomfortable, it just is life, it's love, and people deserve to be able to love who they want to love."
Lovato concluded her speech by insisting that, when all is said and done, she hopes to be able to use her status as a public figure to support causes most meaningful to her, saying, "I always knew that if I made it as a singer, I needed to use my voice for so much more than just singing, and this award means so much to me, more than music – any music award – because this is the real stuff."
Over the years, GLAAD has honored many big-name LGBT stars and their straight allies, from Kerry Washington to Jennifer Lopez, and given Lovato's inspiring and commendable activism, she is no doubt deserving of the honor. Following her early work campaigning against bullying as the face of PACER and launching the Demi Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program, the star began publicly supporting LGBT causes around 2014, when she made a video supporting marriage equality on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign. In the video, Lovato explained, "Let’s protect love and strengthen the institution of marriage by allowing loving, caring and committed same-sex couples to legally marry."
That same year, the star also sent a heartfelt personal email to HRC’s millions of members, calling on them sign an online pledge in support of gay marriage. "My generation knows that it’s wrong to tell two people in love they can’t get married, simply because of who they love. We’ve got to stand up for what’s right and let our voices be heard if we want to put an end to marriage discrimination,” she wrote. Later that year, the then-21-year-old was made the grand marshal of Los Angeles' gay-pride parade, which also served as the backdrop for her gay rights anthem, "Really Don't Care." (The music video has since been viewed over 146 million times.)
In 2015, Lovato began lending her support to awareness and acceptance of mental illness, giving inspirational and deeply personal speeches about her own struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder on behalf of both the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. That year, Billboard also presented the star with their Rulebreaker Award at its annual Women in Music Awards. And now she's received the GLAAD award, a major honor for a star who so clearly deserves it. Lovato has become one helluva role model, and it's great to see her using her celebrity to speak out about causes that matter so dearly to her.
Watch the star's moving GLAAD speech below: