Britney Spears thanked the LGBTQ community for showing her their "unconditional" love during her career at the GLAAD Media Awards on Thursday.
The Womanizer singer was chosen as the recipient of the Vanguard Award by officials of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for being a longtime advocate of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, and she accepted the prize at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday.
After receiving the honor from Ricky Martin, Britney used her acceptance speech to thank the community for supporting her career.
"I feel like our society puts such an emphasis on what's 'normal' and to be 'different' is unusual or seen as strange", she said, according to the Press Association. "But to be accepted unconditionally and to be able to express yourself as an individual through art is such a blessing.
"We can lift each other up and show our gifts without hesitation. Being a mother has shown me what it means to love unconditionally and you all in this room have shown me throughout my career what it means to be loved unconditionally."
While honoring Britney, Ricky called her an "ally" and praised the "artist, fighter and friend" for fighting for acceptance in her own way.
"She could be one of those stars with a huge LGBTQ following who says nothing and does nothing but instead she uses her platform to remind audiences around the world that intolerance is unacceptable," he said.
The singer's influence was also celebrated by The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons as he accepted Stephen F. Kolzak Award from producer Ryan Murphy.
Other winners included This Is Us for Outstanding Drama Series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine for Outstanding Comedy Series, When We Rise for Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series, and A Fantastic Woman for Outstanding Film – Limited Release, while Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBTQ character) went to Master of None's Thanksgiving episode.
Lena Waithe, who starred and co-wrote the episode, accepted the prize and called for the whole community to unite, saying, "When we stand together there's no weapon they can form that can harm us."
JAY-Z's song and music video Smile, which featured his mother Gloria Carter, who used the song to come out as a lesbian, was given a special recognition award.