Singer LeAnn Rimes spoke of her gay uncle who died of AIDS in accepting an award for her LGBT advocacy.

Rimes was honored on Saturday with the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Ally for Equality Award at the group's Nashville Equality Dinner.

Rimes held back tears as she talked about identifying with the LGBT community.

“I get the question, 'Why are you so connected to the LGBTQ community?' I can trace it back to my childhood for a couple of reasons. I was diagnosed with severe psoriasis when I was just two years old. I grew up always feeling very different and in need of hiding most of my body, so no one would think they were going to catch this disease if they were to interact with me,” Rimes explained.

“Once you start hiding a part of you, you hide all of you. And I know you guys know that all too well,” she said to applause.

Rimes added that her uncle William passed away from AIDS when she was eleven.

“Even at that age, I was aware of the judgment that was being thrown his way. I witnessed those who loved him treat his being gay as if it was a disease. What I remember of him was his bright spirit that lit up the world wherever he went. He was amazing. He was a beautiful soul,” Rimes said.