10 times Beyoncé proved herself a flawless LGBT+ ally
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, mother of Blue Ivy and snatcher of wigs, celebrates her 39th birthday Friday (September 4). To celebrate, here’s 10 times she roared gay rights.
Throughout her career, Beyoncé has used her platform to promote and empower LGBT+ people — and not just by blessing us with iconic bops and visual albums.
From celebrating same-sex love to advocating for bathroom rights, Beyoncé has proven time and again that she woke up believing in LGBT+ rights.
As she turns 39 (yes, really), we’ve singled out 10 of her finest moments of allyship.
1. When Beyoncé paid tribute to ‘beautiful’ Black queer youths.
Beyoncé spoke directly to queer Black youths during a powerful commencement address at YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual graduation ceremony in June.
She began by congratulating this year’s graduates for “arriving in the middle of a global crisis, a racial pandemic and worldwide expression of outrage at the senseless killing at yet another unarmed black human being”.
“Thank you for using your collective voice and letting the world know that Black Lives Matter,” she said.
Beyoncé singled out “all those who feel different” for particular encouragement.
“If you’re part of a group that’s called ‘other’, a group that does not get the chance to be centre stage – build your own stage, and make them see you.
“Your queerness is beautiful. Your Blackness is beautiful. Your compassion, your understandingly, your fight for people who may be different from you, is beautiful.
“I hope you continue to go into the world and show them that you will never stop being yourself, that it’s your time now. Make them see.”
2. When she dedicated a GLAAD award to her gay uncle.
In March 2019, Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z accepted the GLAAD Vanguard Award for their work promoting LGBT+ acceptance.
She dedicated the award to her uncle, “the most fabulous gay man [she] ever met,” who helped raised her and her sister Solange.
“Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived,” she said.
“I’m hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely.
“LGBTQIA rights are human rights.”
During her speech, she joked that a tribute performance by Drag Race star Shangela had left her feeling rowdy.
“I’ve already cried, I’ve got a run in my stockings from Shangela.”
3. When she collaborated with boundary-defying gay rapper Big Freedia.
Beyoncé’s 2016 video for Formation had a lot to take in – unapologetically black lyrics, references to police brutality and several looks.
One of the most striking parts of the song comes just over a minute in, when the track falls away leaving behind the unmistakable tones of Big Freedia.
“I did not come to play with you hoes,” she cackles. “I came to slay, b****.”
Beyoncé had meet Freedia, a star of the New Orleans bounce scene, after her sister Solange invited her to their mother’s birthday party.
Some time later, Beyoncé called Freedia (a gay man who uses she/her pronouns) and asked her to record some vocals for her new single.
“And it was just so exciting, I literally died in my own skin right then and there,” Freedia told Vogue.
4. When Beyoncé celebrated marriage equality with this video.
5. When she hired Laverne Cox to model her Ivy Park range.
Continuing her habit of uplifting the LGBT+ community, Beyoncé hired actor Laverne Cox for her AW17 Ivy Park campaign.
“The message for this campaign is to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness,” Beyoncé said of the casting.
“True beauty and power are born out of strength of character and defined from the inside out. There is no one standard of beauty.”
6. When Beyoncé used Lemonade to spotlight LGBT+ couples.
Two months after the release of ‘Formation’, Beyoncé dropped her introspective visual album Lemonade.
The album and its accompanying film tell a tale of infidelity, anger and reconciliation, with the final track ‘All Night’ celebrating love in all its forms.
The end of the video spotlights couples of all genders and races, including a number of same-sex partners.
7. When she made a human Pride flag with her dancers.
8. When she used a world tour to campaign for trans bathroom rights.
When Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour visited North Carolina in 2016, the state was in the middle of a hugely important row over the rights of transgender people.
In February of that year, the Charlotte City Council voted to expand North Carolina’s anti-discrimination laws. Among other things, this law meant the transgender people would have the right to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity.
State legislators quickly overturned the legislation and introduced a so-called Bathroom Bill, which said that people may only use public bathrooms which correspond to the gender marker on their birth certificate. North Carolina law requires that a person undergo gender-affirming surgery before they can change their gender marker.
A statement on Beyoncé’s website said: “As The Formation World Tour makes its stop in the Tar Heel state in the midst of such a controversial time, we think it is important for us to bring attention to those who are committed to being good and carrying on the message of equality in this core of controversy.”
She pointed fans towards the Y’all Means Y’all campaign to overturn the ban.
9. When she platformed trans activist Janet Mock.
As part of her Black History Month 2019 celebrations back in February, Beyoncé shared a profile of trans author, director and activist Janet Mock to her website.
“Janet has been a journalist in the publishing world for many years, starting as an editor and writer at People magazine,” the article read.
“It was in 2011 via Marie Claire magazine that Janet came out as transgender, and since then she’s been heralded as one of the most influential activists for trans rights.”
Mock, who became the first black trans woman to write and direct a TV show with Pose, returned the favour on Twitter.
“When your idol sees and uplifts your black greatness,” she wrote. “Thank you Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter.”
10. Every second she was Beyoncé.