Ricky Martin, Angelica Ross, Lauren Jauregui, Fletcher and VINCINT are among the artists to speak about Christina Aguilera’s impact as an LGBTQ+ ally in this week’s issue of PEOPLE
From spreading messages of self-love through her music to using her platform to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, Christina Aguilera has consistently shown up for the LGBTQ+ community throughout her more than two-decade career.
In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the music icon, 41, is recognized by her peers for the important work she’s done as an ally.
“Christina is a force! Her voice has become synonymous with greatness and the most commendable thing is that [after] becoming one of the most successful female artists of all time, she uses her voice as a constant ally to the LGBTQ+ community,” says Ricky Martin, who released the duet “Nobody Wants to Be Lonely” with Aguilera in 2001. “She is an amazing mother, a businesswoman, and a proud Latina.”
Aguilera first cemented her status as an ally with the release of her “Beautiful” music video in 2002. In it, she featured a gay couple and a transgender woman, a progressive move for the time.
“Her video for ‘Beautiful’ was an amazing statement,” says singer and former Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui, who adds that “Fighter” and “Can’t Hold Us Down” — songs also on Aguilera’s 2002 album Stripped — “played a huge role in shaping my self-confidence as a little girl.”
For Pose star and singer Angelica Ross, the Stripped song that resonated most with her was “The Voice Within.”
“I sang along and cried to [it] so many times as a young trans girl who wasn’t the confident woman I am today,” Ross says. “I truly had to find my voice and took every single lyric of that song to heart. I have honestly been in tears every morning so grateful as I sing and affirm that I have indeed found my voice. I’m forever grateful for Christina.”
Beyond the music, Aguilera has supported Ross’ organization TransTech Social Enterprises, a co-working, co-learning community dedicated to empowering trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer people and allies with practical, career-ready skills.
“She has donated portions of her merch proceeds to our organization, and I hope to one day thank her in person,” says Ross.
Along with supporting Ross’ organization, Aguilera donated proceeds from her song “Change” in 2016 to the families of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. In 2004, she also became a spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics’ VIVA Glam line, which supports the MAC AIDS Fund.
Next, she’ll headline Los Angeles Pride in the Park on June 11.
“I love that Christina has never shied away from being there for our community,” says singer VINCINT. “She has been a part of multiple campaigns for AIDS research and the imagery in her music videos have promoted LGBTQ+ love. Since the beginning of her career, she has lived proudly as an ally through her art.”
Adds singer Fletcher: “Christina Aguilera is one of the greatest voices of our time. Just as powerful is how she’s loudly used that voice to uplift the LGBTQ+ community throughout her career.”
For Aguilera, being an ally “is not something that’s short-lived,” she tells PEOPLE.
“It’s in my DNA,” she says. “The accolades and awards and all those things are nice, but what truly has mattered to me the most all these years is the connection I’ve made with people.”
“I’m all about people standing up for what they believe in, which is why I think the LGBTQ+ community feels connected to me,” she adds. “We’ve all come from struggle; We’ve all had to fight to be heard.”