VIDEO: Paula Abdul pays tribute to HIV/AIDS activists and sends message of solidarity to her LGBTQ fans during Ariadne Getty Ally Award acceptance speech at the GLAAD Gala San Francisco: “I’ll always be ‘forever your girl.’”

On September 28, global superstar Paula Abdul was honored with the Ariadne Getty Ally Award at the GLAAD San Francisco. Abdul was presented the award by her friend and Olympic champion Adam Rippon. Check out Adam Rippon's intro and Paula Abdul’s full acceptance speech below:

In his introductory remarks, Adam Rippon joked about being best friends with Abdul during the 1980s: “I remember one time we were just sitting, gabbing around in our tiny studio apartment - we were roommates - talking about life and boys and Paula turns to me and says ‘Adam, I feel lost, in a dream, I don’t know which way to go - as soon as she said it my eyes lit up and I was like ‘OMG find a pen, write that down.’ We wrote the song “Straight Up” that night.”

In her acceptance speech, Abdul paid an emotional tribute to her LGBTQ fans who have stood by her throughout her career: “I truly owe a debt of gratitude for all my friends in the LGBTQ community. You have unabashedly loved and supported me throughout my life and my career, since day one as a choreographer and into my music career.”

Abdul also brought attention to HIV/AIDS advocacy and spoke about the friends she lost during the HIV/AIDS epidemic: “It was extremely devastating when we lost so many members of our family during the HIV/AIDS crisis. I lost so many beautiful colleagues and friends… It was a heart-crushing time. People who’d contributed their creativity and talent were passing away at an alarming rate. I could not sit back and be quiet. I was—and will always be—passionate about raising funds and awareness to help people learn the facts about HIV and AIDS, and about our fellow human beings in need of help.”

Near the end of her speech, Abdul also honored her late parents by thanking them for the lessons they taught her about love and acceptance: “I’ve experienced the highest of highs this year - including this evening - and on the complete opposite end I also experienced extreme sorrow in losing both of my parents. But what my parents taught me that matters most is empathy, compassion, gratitude and acceptance for all - these are the fundamental traits that they instilled in me that have made me the woman I am today.”

The Ariadne Getty Ally Award is named after philanthropist Ariadne Getty, a native of San Francisco. She is the President and Executive Director of the Ariadne Getty Foundation and a member of GLAAD’s Board of Directors. Last year, the Ariadne Getty Foundation announced a $15 million multi-year lead gift to launch the GLAAD Media Institute during the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The Ariadne Getty Ally Award was presented for the first time ever in 2018 to actor and activist Alyssa Milano.

Throughout her career, Abdul has been a dedicated ally to the LGBTQ community by bringing awareness to issues affecting LGBTQ people. In 1992, Abdul was featured in an education film titled “Time Out: The Truth About AIDS & HIV,” which helped to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and address common misconceptions. In 1997, Paula Abdul hosted the AIDS Project Los Angeles’ AIDS Dance-A-Thon, which helped to raise money for the Project’s work to provide services to those living with HIV/AIDS in the Los Angeles region. Throughout her time on American Idol, Abdul also helped to mentor several LGBTQ artists, including Adam Lambert and Adore Delano. Abdul has also used her social media platform to advocate for LGBTQ acceptance. She spoke out in support of transgender youth on International Transgender Day of Visibility via Twitter and has participated in GLAAD’s Spirit Day to stand up against anti-LGBTQ bullying and send a message of solidarity and acceptance to LGBTQ youth.

Abdul has also used her social media platforms to recognize World AIDS Day, encouraging people to learn the facts about HIV/AIDS in order to end stigma. In an interview in with Get Out Magazine in 2018, Abdul also cited the influence of her LGBTQ fans, stating: “I wouldn't have my career if it wasn't for my gay fans. I have always been very close to the community...They have been there with me through thick and thin and stayed with me, always loyal. I love the (gay) community.” This past June, Abdul also headlined the 2019 LA Pride Festival Opening Ceremony.

During the GLAAD Gala San Francisco, Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy was also honored with the Davidson/Valentini Award, while tech innovator Ali Rosenthal was honored with the Ric Weiland Award. The event was hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race alum and Broadway star Peppermint, and featured celebrity guests including the cast of Schitt’s Creek, Alicia Garza, Eva Gutowski, Justin Tranter, Ariadne Getty, August Getty, and more. Singer Garrett Clayton also performed a musical medley during the event.

The GLAAD Gala San Francisco celebrates and features storytellers and tech innovators who accelerate LGBTQ acceptance and helps fund GLAAD’s digital advocacy work to grow LGBTQ inclusion in digital and social media.

The 2019 GLAAD Gala San Francisco is presented by Gilead, Ketel One Family-Made Vodka & Wells Fargo, with official partner Google.