As we celebrate #PrideMonth, this week’s Respect Your Elders post features a well-known advocate for the LGBTQ community. Multi-Grammy Award-winning musician Elton John (born 1947) is not only one of the best-selling musical artists in the world, but he’s also supported the LGBTQ community throughout his life.
Elton John was born in the Pinner borough of London and began playing piano at age 3. As a teenager, he performed at a local pub before forming a band with his friend, Bluesology. A few years later, he answered an advertisement for a songwriter, which is how he first met lyricist Bernie Taupin, who also responded to the advertisement. This blossomed into a longtime musical partnership — Tauplin writing lyrics and John composing songs. The duo continues to work together, and recently partnered with YouTube to create new music videos for their hits “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man” and “Bennie and the Jets.”
John’s discography includes not only dozens of studio albums, but projects for stage and screen. He’s written music for films including “The Lion King,” “The Road to El Dorado” and “Gnomeo and Juliet.” He also composed original Broadway musicals “Aida” and “Billy Elliot the Musical” and was awarded Tony Awards for both. John has also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King” and five Grammy awards, including the Grammy Legend Award in 1995. John continues to perform, and is currently on a worldwide tour.
Throughout the years, John has also been active in fighting for LGBTQ rights and issues that affect the community. He founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992 and became a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom in 2012. In 2013, he called out Russian President Vladimir Putin for the “inhumane and isolating” anti-gay legislation that was signed into law.
For this year’s #PrideMonth, John, among other musicians, wrote a love letter to the LGBTQ community. He writes, “thanks to you, society is becoming more just, more loving, and more compassionate.” You can read it on Billboard.