It goes without saying that Britney Spears has always been considered something of an icon by members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Aside from her neverending discography of fabulous hip-swinging hits, she famously locked lips with Madonna at the 2003 VMAs and last year penned a heartfelt letter to a once-suicidal gay fan. She also famously gave birth to a fully-formed “leave Britney alone!” Chris Crocker, who has since become a gay porn star and social advocate for the visibility of non-binary gender identities.
However, what you mightn't realise is Britney's long and deeply involved association with the Australian marriage equality movement. Look, I'm not normally one for conspiracy theories. Surely it's just a 'coincidence' that homosexuality was decriminalised in parts of Australia the very year Britney was born. Surely it's just a 'coincidence' that her 2003 performance of “Like A Virgin” with Madonna – in which they made out – coincided perfectly with NSW equalising the age of consent for gay Australians, allowing them to legally lose their virginity at 16-years-old. I mean, surely. Right? But after delving into the dankest pits of Wikipedia, I've uncovered some fairly shocking correlations between Australia's ongoing plight for equality and the long, tumultuous career of the Queen of Pop.
In mid 2004, when Britney caught wind of the the Howard Liberal government's shocking amendments to the Marriage Act - which explicitly excluded same-sex couples from marriage - she was rightfully outraged. However, instead of kicking up a stink, Godn–ahem, I mean, Ms. Spears – set out to make an example of the crumbling social construct of marriage by becoming engaged to her backup dancer Kevin Federline – who she had met only 3 months earlier. Her subsequent single “My Prerogative” topped the charts in Ireland, Norway and Finland.
...All of which has since legalised marriage equality.
When John Howard announced plans in 2007 to banish same-sex couple adoption nationwide, Britney wasn't having a bloody bar of it – echoing the cries of our entire community by dropping crash-hot single “Gimme More”, which debuted at #3 on the Australian charts on October 15th and spurred the Labor Party to win government weeks later. I suppose the Australian people didn't need permission to make their own decision.
In 2009, when the Rudd Labor government passed legislation to remove discrimination against same-sex couples from 85 federal laws, you would've been forgiven for missing the pertinent significance. Namely, that Britney Spears had released precisely 85 songs on her first seven albums – that's one federal law per track.
In May last year, when Spears appeared for an interview via live cross with The Project on the same freakin' day marriage equality was legalised in Ireland, everyone thought she was talking about a 'tour' (lol yeah right) when she hinted that she would “come back (to Australia) very soon”. However, she was clearly referring to the parliamentary discussions on marriage equality, with Tony Abbott's plan for a plebiscite being announced less than three months later.
Obviously, Britney has since condemned the Turnbull government's clumsy handling of the proposed plebiscite by releasing her latest toe-tapping jam – aptly titled “Clumsy” - on the 12th anniversary week of John Howard's Marriage Act amendments. It is a move reminiscent of when she heard of the Howard amendments twelve years prior, releasing "Toxic" in response.
But here's the real kicker. If my theory is correct (and it definitely is), Britney's as-yet-unannounced world tour for her latest album will see her landing on Australian shores around late-February/early-March next year – deliberately, masterfully coinciding with the national plebiscite on marriage equality.
What's the name of her latest album again?
Oh, and as though to cue, Britney spectacularly announced her 2016 VMA performance while I was reaching the end of this very article – her own little way of telling me – no, telling us – to keep going.
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) August 16, 2016