First things first: these three women really love Adam Lambert. They love his music, his fashion, his philanthropy and his support of the LGBT community. They love his message of “resisting with unity, visibility, truth, inclusion, acceptance and most importantly, love.”
If you’ve forgotten the story of the outspoken Lambert, it largely begins with American Idol.
Lambert, 36, rose to fame on the reality TV show in 2009 as a runner up to winner Kris Allen. During the season, photos of him kissing another man surfaced, causing quite a stir. (It’s doubtful many would care much today). After the kiss, Lambert would confirm what many already knew or suspected – that he’s gay.
Since American Idol, Lambert has enjoyed a fair amount of musical success, but is also known for giving to charity and motivating his fans to do the same. He has donated to and raised money for many LGBT-related groups, including The Trevor Project, and has performed concerts for causes like HIV/AIDS awareness. His post-reality TV professional life is full of LGBT advocacy and activism.
He’s visited Florida many times and was the headline performer at the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and Festival in 2013, when he was also given the key to the city.
‘Vital’ Straight Allies
The Glambert Angels are led by founders Carter Setterlund of Ontario, Canada, (an LGBT ally since a trip to Key West in 1989); Jen Olszanowski from Douglassville, Pennsylvania, (ally and member of gun reform group Moms Demand Action); and Ana Sliman of Great Mills, Maryland, (ally and social justice and animal activist).
After the three women met on Lambert’s fan website, they started gifting his music to different individuals and groups.
However, now their main focus is to promote and encourage LGBT allies to be active for youth causes. Their website has a resource page for allies.
“Allies have always been vital to the advancement of equality and activism for the LGBTQ community,” Setterlund said. “But now … we do feel that it is even more so crucial for allies to make the move from being passive allies to being active and vocal allies.”
Setterlund believes LGBT equality cannot be achieved without the support of straight allies. She cites the changes brought about by the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Rights Movement as examples.
“[They] weren't made solely by black individuals or solely by women. Everyone who believes in equality needs to stand in solidarity,” she said.
The urgency has been ramped up by the election of Trump, she said.
“Much of the progress that has been made in regard to LGBTQ equality is being eroded by the Trump Administration,” Setterlund said. “After Trump and [Vice President Mike] Pence won the 2016 election, we knew that we needed to lend our support to those that were going to be affected by this administration.”
The Trump Administration has not only signed a transgender military ban, but has cut back on health care protections for trans people. Soon after his term began, the president also rescinded protections for transgender students, which had allowed them to use bathrooms that matched with their gender identity.
“We wondered if the Trump Administration even took the time to consider what this would do to trans children. How this would make them feel? How would this increase bullying of trans youth? Because we knew that this would have such a negative impact, we wanted to do what we could to show trans youth that they do matter,” Setterlund said.
Setterlund said the Portland, Maine-based Trans Youth Equality Foundation have been in desperate need of sponsorships so trans youth could attend its summer camp.
“Back in 2015, when we were contacting LGBTQ youth organizations to gift Adam's music to, we discovered that several of these organizations were struggling to remain open,” Setterlund said.
The Glambert Angels have funded four TYEF scholarships so far.
“They do many of the typical summer camp activities, but these camps also provide guidance, education and support,” Setterlund said. “The camps give youth a chance to talk about the biases they face and the effect it has on them. Most of the campers have never met another trans child. These camps are places where the children feel totally accepted – the camps are vital and need support, both financially and in the way of volunteers.”
For more, search for Glambert Angels online or go to Facebook.com/GlambertAngels.