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Betty Who on Her Beautiful Summer Pride Tour & Being a Warrior for LGBTQ Rights

Betty Who on Her Beautiful Summer Pride Tour & Being a Warrior for LGBTQ Rights

Betty Who

"The very little influence that I do have, I have used almost all of it to stand up for LGBTQ rights and to be an ally as much as I possibly can."

Fresh off Betty Who's headlining tour in support of her sophomore album, The Valley, the rising pop star has been busy performing select Pride dates across the country. Dubbed the Beautiful Summer pride tour, Betty's string of appearances is a gift to the LGBTQ community, which has supported her since helping "Somebody Loves You" go viral in 2013 with Spencer Stout's Home Depot marriage proposal.

Appropriately, the Aussie's live sets are less about adoring her and more about practicing self-love--something Betty recognizes as being difficult for all people, regardless of their sexualities or gender identities. This is where she most strongly connects with her queer fans, inspiring them to relinquish all their insecurities just as she does every night on stage.

Related | Betty Who Bares Her Heart on The Valley, But Only If You Deserve It

When performing The Valley'sSuperfruit-assisted highlight, "Beautiful," Betty becomes a spiritual guide, engaging her audience in the track's call and response finale: "Do you feel beautiful?" she asks, as fans scream back, "Hell Yeah," repeatedly. "Cause you look beautiful, tonight," Betty sings, encouraging them to "just feel it in your soul," as challenging as that may be.

Watch a recap from Betty Who's Party in the Valley tour, and learn more about the singer's relationship with her LGBTQ fans in our exclusive interview, below.

OUT: Why is a Pride tour important to you?

Betty Who: It's a great way for me to make new friends, make new fans and get out to people who might not have come to the show before. But also, to help a group of people. I've been to many Prides in many different cities, and my favorite thing is to help those people celebrate. I'm in Milwaukee, right now, and the people who've been putting this on... this is their job year round. They wait till every summer and the week before is always the craziest, they haven't slept. Nobody's eaten. Nobody's been drinking. Everybody's stressed like crazy. And then the shows over, and they'e like, "Oh my God, I can celebrate finally and just relax now." I love to be a part of that.

You've been doing a lot of personal activities with your fans, from dance classes to karaoke. Why do you make time to do that?

Because I think I'm a really good example of an artist who is completely fan-driven and not anything else. It's not as if I came from Disney. It's not as if I came from a machine, putting all their weight behind me. I pretty much hope that people will show up to my show every time I get on stage. The fact that people do is nothing to do with anything except the fact that my fans support me. I think it's only fair to do the same for them.

That's great. I think the LGBTQ community has especially rallied around you because of your ongoing dedication.

I try. It's a struggle every day to just be a person and do anything ever. But I think most people feel that. Most of the time I genuinely enjoy what I do. I have been lucky that my fans are really lovely. You know I could have had such a worse time. I could hang out with fans and they could be scary and horrible. And I would have to anyway, but I don't have to pretend. I really don't and I never do. I just get to hang out with people who are genuine human beings that just want to be entertained and have a good time and enjoy a show. That's my goal to bring that space to them.

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Why do you think pop stars are often loved as LGBTQ allies?

Because there are few things in the world that have the level of campiness in a good way that pop music does. I think there's a big part of the LGBTQ culture that is about that. That's why drag culture is so big. It's over-the-top, but that's because it's fabulous. And you should be exactly who you want to be. You should be able to wear cupcakes on your tits just because you want to. It really feels very authentic, that I don't give a fuck kind of thing, but you're appealing to the masses. Because of that, I think particularly gay men love to latch onto the stars they believe in. Also, you can tell what's going to happen by what the gay community is saying is up-and-coming. There's a lot of tastemakers. They have their fingers on the pulse of the underground pop community. I had someone say to me the other day, "Happy Carly Rae Jepson Awareness Month," because it's Pride month. That's the gay community at work, right there.

During your concert in New York, you brought a gay couple on stage for their marriage proposal. What's the process for making that happen?

Honestly, it's such a pleasure to be a part of moments like that and so easy. I literally don't have to do anything except sing and be there and watch them have this incredibly important moment in their lives. One of my favorite parts of what I do is being a part of people's stories. Like any human who texts me or DM's me or sees the show and says, "This show reminds me of this road trip I took with my sister," or, "This song means this to me." I get to be a part of the soundtrack of people's lives, and it's just a nice way to do that in person. Very rarely do we get to do [proposals], but when we do, we're all so emotional that I can't think for two weeks.

In addition to "Somebody Loves You," which has become a bit of a queer anthem, you're new song, "Beautiful" off The Valley is a LGBTQ highlight, as well.

It's funny, it does go off live. And we have a moment where I break the song down a little now and people can sing with me and make it important. Don't just sing along, sing with me to all the people that feel less than perfect, less than beautiful, less than anything. You're not and nobody is. And I think that creates an energy. For the first half of the song it's fine, but then the second half I'm like, "No, this is too important." Don't just sing along. Let's take this moment. Let's think about this: Everybody has people in their lives that make them feel like they're less than something.

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It's a nice reminder to have someone sing those words back at you: "On your worst day, you're still beautiful."

It is the most obvious LGBTQ song on the record, I think. I'm bad at writing preachy songs because I don't know how to do that. So I just write songs for myself and hope it makes sense for everybody else. The first verse in that entire song is me talking about myself, genuinely looking in the mirror and staring at my enemy. I think that makes it a little easier for me to sell. I think it's easier to connect if others are going this is true for me, as well, and I'm working on it too. So if you are, at least, we can work on it together.

In what ways do you personally relate to the queer community?

At the end of the day, there's a lot that I don't relate to because I am dating a man. And you know, I have dated a woman, and I ended up with a man and that's how it works for me. Sometimes, I feel like I want to give my whole heart to the LGBTQ community and I'm just an arm's length away just because of how I identify. It doesn't make me sad or anything. I always try to be respectful of that. I understand that there are things about identity and about self-love and awareness that I will never understand because I have never had to be out and be gay. My best friends in the world are all gay men. I think the relationship between gay men and women is so sacred, and sometimes confusing and strange, especially for a woman. You know, I've been in love with my gay best friend before.

There are so many things about the relationships that I have experienced with the gay community--not the entire gay community, but particularly my gay male friends - that I have been so opened up by and I'm so grateful for. I can name you 15 gay men in my life who have saved me and picked me up off the ground when I needed it. I don't think anybody could have done it the way that they did. And I think there's something about the LGBTQ community that has that sense of community, that sense of love, that sense of togetherness that they can be there for me in a way that, sometimes, other people can't be.

I think that's a great answer.

It's hard because I want to say, "I'm secretly a gay man at heart," because I have so much in common with every single gay best friend that I have, where I'm the same person as them. But I understand when I say that, someone will look at it and say, "You're not and you'll never understand." I'm not offended by that. I agree. I try to be really thoughtful. I've tried to be a warrior for the LGBTQ community. The very little influence that I do have, I have used almost all of it to stand up for LGBTQ rights and to be an ally as much as I possibly can.

For more information on Betty Who's Beautiful Summer pride tour, click here.

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