Why We Love Betty White

Thank you for being a friend.

We know you probably got nervous when you saw Betty White’s name in the headline, but fret not: It’s the beloved actress and icon’s birthday.  

White, who holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest television career of any entertainer, has had a special place in the heart of LGBT fans. It’s not just her support of our community—though she’s been plenty supportive—it’s her indomitable spirit, her positivity, her determination to fight for causes she believes in, and the unconditional love she offers and advocates for.

And she’s one of the funniest ladies on the planet.

Below, we share just some of the reasons we love this “Golden Girl.”

  1. Betty means business when it comes to animal rights.

    White is a staunch animal lover, convincing the producers of Golden Girls to feature pets on several episodes. So she was more than pissed off at Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who heartlessly slaughtered Cecil the Lion near Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

    “You don’t want to hear some of the things I want to do to that man,” White, who sits on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Zoo, said. “It’s such a heartbreaker. You can’t even talk about it, and to see this king of the jungle and personifying it in every way, this gorgeous creature. How can somebody do that?”

    You do not want to cross Betty White.

  2. She’s got spirit.

    In 2013, Betty didn’t just partake in Spirit Day, she changed her name to “Betty Purple” in support of LGBT youth.

    “And you know what the best part is,” she said in a promo with her Hot in Cleveland cast mates. “I look GREAT in purple.”

  3. She has nice things to say about Bea Arthur.

    Though Arthur was a stellar performer, some of her costars have complained the late actress could be less than warm.

    “No one knew what a sense of humor—real sense of humor—Bea Arthur had,” Betty told Inside the Actor’s Studio. “They always think of her as very fierce and austere and she did give that image. She could be tough, she could be really tough, but she had a funny sense of humor and she could tell a joke like nobody else.”

  4. She likes older men.

    Eric McCandless/Freeform via Getty Images

    Betty White with Carl Reiner, who’s actually two months younger than White, but she is 98 after all. “I’ve always liked older men,” she declared a few years back. “They’re just more attractive to me. Of course, at my age there aren’t that many left!”

  5. She was down with marriage equality from way back.

    “If a couple has been together all that time—and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones—I think it’s fine if they want to get married,” she told Parade magazine in 2010. “I don’t know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”

  6. She had the best “Wrecking Ball” parody.

    Betty shaded Miley Cyrus (in a loving way) in a promo for Off Their Rockers, her senior-citizen prank show.

  7. She’s an Instagram BOSS.

    betty white

    Betty joined the social media app in 2015 and snagged more than 75,000 in her first day. She’s no fool, either—the Emmy winner timed her first ’gram to the end of Hot in Cleveland, generating more buzz for the show and kudos for her costars.

    betty white
    Now up to more than 514,000 followers, she’s posed with Queen Latifah, Mindy Kaling and Deadpool. Of course, her favorite snaps are the ones with her furry friends.

  8. She taught us valuable life lessons.

    “Sometimes life isn’t fair, kiddo.”

  9. She knows why we love her.

    “When we were on Saturday nights, gay bars around Los Angeles would shut down the music when Golden Girls came on,” White once explained. “Everybody watched and then they’d start the music back up and start dancing again. It was wonderful.”

    “I think the gay community likes old ladies,” she added. “I know I get a tremendous amount of mail that talk about growing up, watching our show and watching it with either their mother or their grandmother, but mostly their grandmother. So I think we were maybe surrogate grandmothers.”

    Well, we definitely think of you as family, Betty.

Now, enjoy a Betty White golden gif wall!

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.