Britney Spears has been awarded with a GLAAD Media Award for being an LGBTQ ally.

The pop superstar was in attendance at the high-profile ceremony on Thursday night to accept the Vanguard Award, which is given to a member of the entertainment world who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for LGBTQ people.

Britney, who will headline Brighton Pride later this year, was introduced by openly gay pop star Ricky Martin, who described her as “an artist, a fighter, and a friend” before welcoming her to the stage.

“Our ally Britney Spears, she fights for acceptance in her own way. Britney is a multi-platinum Grammy award-winning pop icon,” he said.

“It’s incredible, because she could be one of those stars with a huge LGBTQ following that says nothing and does nothing, but instead she uses her platform to remind audiences around the globe that intolerance is unacceptable.”

Accepting the award at the Beverly Hilton, Britney said: “I feel like our society has always put such an emphasis on what’s normal, and to be different is ‘unusual’ or seen as strange.

“But to be accepted unconditionally and to be able to express yourself as an individual through art is such a blessing. Events like this, the one we’re attending here tonight, show the world that we’re not alone.

“We can all join hands together and know that we are all beautiful, and we can lift each other up and show our gifts without hesitation.”

She continued: “Being a mother has shown me what it means to love unconditionally, and you all in this room have shown me what it means to be loved unconditionally.

“It’s such an honour to be here, and thank you so much GLAAD, and thank you to the LGBTQ community, and to my family and all of my friends – and fans – I love you very much, thank you.”

Watch her full speech below.