Billboard asked pop cultural icons to write love letters to the LGBTQ community as part of its "30 Days of Pride" celebration this year and what they penned was moving.
Jennifer Lopez was one of the participants, and the emotional words she shared about her gay aunt who struggled with her sexuality will bring you to tears.
"When I was growing up in the Bronx, I always thought my aunt Myrza was the coolest. She lived in NYC and wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be just like her. What I didn’t realize was that she was struggling with being gay. At that time, families didn’t sit around a dinner table and talk about tolerance and acceptance. Life was different and it is heartbreaking for me to think about it now. The people she watched on TV didn’t represent her. Movies didn’t represent her. She thought she was alone," the Latina wrote.
She went on to explain why her work as an executive producer on "The Fosters" — a show about a lesbian couple raising a family — was so important for LGBTQ representation. She wanted to honor her aunt with the show.
"That is why I'm proud of 'The Fosters', a show celebrating its 100th episode. A show that holds a mirror to society and shines a light on what love looks like. It doesn’t matter your race or sexual orientation. Love is love.
Myzra isn’t with us anymore, but I like to think she is proudly looking down on me from above — the way I always looked up to her."
This isn't the first time J. Lo has credited her aunt as her inspiration for being an advocate for the LGBTQ community.
When she was awarded with the GLAAD's Vanguard Award in 2014, she highlighted how her aunt Myrza taught her about acceptance. She said, "Myrza grew up gay in a time when life could be very difficult, and that her struggles were mostly kept to herself. It wasn't until I got older that I really began to know and appreciate all the difficulties she dealt with and the struggles of her community. I also realized the quiet lessons I learned from my family about love, tolerance, and acceptance. We loved her. That was all because of her."
Lopez also added, "Love is love and that’s what I tell my children everyday. It’s what we have to make everyone understand so that the world can be a better, safer, more diverse, more inclusive and more loving place and we are on our way."
She also collaborated with Lin-Manuel Miranda on a tribute song for the Pulse Orlando shooting victims and the LGBTQ community as a whole. The lyrics spread the message of love and equality in the face of intolerance.
Proceeds from the "Love Make the World Go Round" track benefited the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando through the Somos Orlando campaign.