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like rihanna's twitter dms, these five pop stars have gone above and beyond for their lgbt fans

With news that Rihanna has been helping a gay fan to come out of the closet, we look back at other pop stars who have reached out powerfully to the LGBT community.

by Nick Levine
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Apr 15 2016, 1:29pm

In recent weeks Rihanna has reportedly been helping a closeted gay fan to come out to his friends and family -- an act of compassion, kindness and genuine empathy which will further strengthen the singer's bond with her LGBT fans. Pop stars are sometimes accused of cynically pandering to the "pink pound," but here are five other artists who've offered remarkable support to the LGBT community over the years.

1. Madonna helped to raise AIDS awareness in the pre-internet era: By including an AIDS fact sheet with her 1989 album Like a Prayer, Madonna wasn't simply aligning herself with those battling the disease, she was also providing valuable information that may not have been readily available to her fans. When she performed in London on World AIDS Day last December, she dedicated Like a Prayer's classic title track to "not only the dearest and most amazing friends of mine who died of AIDS so many years ago [including artist Keith Haring, whose passing she commemorated during her final NYC show on 1990's Blond Ambition world tour], and who still do, but the entire family of my adopted son who died of AIDS."

2. Lady Gaga is spreading a pro-LGBT message to prevent youth suicide: Gaga and her mother Cynthia were moved to launch the Born This Way Foundation in 2012 after one of the singer's teenage fans who had been bullied for being gay took his own life. This non-profit organization is "committed to supporting the wellness of young people and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world," with a strong pro-LGBT focus. "This foundation was born from the years I spent watching my fans grow up. Many of them were really young: 11 to 17 year-olds in very tumultuous times," Gaga told Billboard last year. "They would tell me their stories, and many of them were very dark. As I began to care for them and to see myself in them, I felt I had to do something that would remind kids they're not alone. When they feel isolated, that's when it leads to suicide."

3. Kesha became an ordained minister so she could officiate at the wedding of two lesbian friends: "I was honored to participate first hand in a wedding between two women who love each other," Kesha told CBS shortly after the ceremony in 2012. "I saw how much in meant to them, and I can't understand why any person or any law would stand in between that kind of love." Kesha went on to officiate at another same-sex wedding in 2015.

4. Cyndi Lauper launched a concert tour to benefit LGBT charities: Named after Lauper's famous gay anthem, The True Colors Tour criss-crossed North America in 2007-8, raising money for LGBT organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the Matthew Shephard Foundation. Lauper was joined on the road by a diverse range of LGBT artists and allies including Debbie Harry, Tegan and Sara, The Gossip, Rufus Wainwright, and The B-52's.

5. Miley Cyrus is fighting the LGBT youth homelessness problem: Launched by the Wrecking Ball singer last May, The Happy Hippie Foundation is a nonprofit organization which aims to "fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations." A massive 40 percent of America's homeless youth identify as LGBT, and Cyrus has helped to highlight their plight with her Backyard Sessions, which sees her team up with fellow LGBT allies such as Ariana Grande and Joan Jett for special stripped down performances.

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Text Nick Levine
Image courtesy of @mileycyrus

Tagged:
Culture
LGBT+
lady gaga
LGBT rights
Rihanna
Madonna
Cyndi Lauper