Bryan Adams’ Mississippi show has been canceled by the performer himself in protest of the state’s “Religious Liberty” bill, which would allow businesses to deny service to anyone who goes against their religious beliefs. This includes single mothers and—most notably—those that are gay and/or transgender. In a statement on his Instagram, the award-winning singer wrote, “I find it incomprehensible that LGBT citizens are being discriminated against in the state of Mississippi. I cannot in good conscience perform in a State where certain people are being denied their civil rights due to their sexual orientation. [sic]”
But Bryan Adams’ concert getting the kibosh to protest anti-gay laws is just one example of a celebrity showing LGBT support. Here are seven other notable famous advocates for equal rights.
The singer wears her heart on her sleeve and her support on her finger, getting an equal sign tattooed there. She has also written an article about her feelings on the issue for Glamour magazine and, when she won an award at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards, she let a homeless man accept the award for her so he could speak about the music industry’s need to support homeless LGBT youth.
Claiming in an interview with Rap Up that “Homophobia is still rampant in the hip-hop community and it just gets the co-sign,” the artist has worked to change things. Most notably, he and Ryan Lewis collaborated for the song “Same Love”—a song about gay and lesbian rights; the single’s cover even featured Macklemore’s gay uncle and his partner. Further, when the two played the song live, the performance included real weddings, many of which were for same-sex couples.
Celebrated as likely the first openly transgender woman in Hollywood, Laverne Cox shot to fame on the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Since her rise to fame, Cox has wisely used her celebrity status to advocate for the rights of trans people, including by using her platform to shed light on the distressing amount of violence that trans people face regularly. As a result, she is considered a crucial spokesperson for trans rights and issues.
Since coming out as a lesbian herself in 2014, the actress has made great strides to bring attention to issues the community faces. One way she has done this is through her series Gaycation, where she travels the world to share and observe different aspects of LGBT culture outside North America. She’s also working on additional projects that will feature gay storylines in order to increase exposure in Hollywood.
An advocate for LGBT rights the world over, Lady Gaga is considered by the gay community to be a driving force and icon for equality; in turn, she attributes their support for her initial fame. She performs regularly at pride events and several of her songs are treated as gay anthems, including “Born This Way” and “Poker Face,” which she says is about her bisexuality. She has also made it clear that she was strongly against the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, using concerts, rallies and YouTube videos to speak against it.
Best known for playing Sulu in the original Star Trek series, Takei is now an openly and happily married gay man who uses his reach to bring light on many LGBT issues. From the bill opposing same-sex marriage to championing for LGBT people who have faced discrimination, Takei uses a loveable snark and humor to make his points—and people definitely listen.
Best known for playing the badass “Fixer” Olvia Pope on the hit TV series Scandal, Washington is a real life heroine and loud supporter of LGBT rights. Awarded the prestigious GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2015, Washington is a vocal supporter of LGBT rights, among other causes including violence against women and prevention of breast cancer.