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Archbishop Carl Bean, activist who sang 'I Was Born This Way,' dies at 77

Carl Bean was a noted speaker and activist, and he founded both the Unity Fellowship Church Movement and Minority AIDS Project in Los Angeles.

WASHINGTON — Archbishop Carl Bean, an LGBTQ advocate and the pioneering recording artist for the song "I Was Born This Way," has died. He was 77.

The Unity Fellowship Church Movement (UFCM) announced his death on Tuesday saying Bean "worked tirelessly for the liberation of the underserved and for the LGBTQ people of faith, and in doing so, helped many around the world find their way back to spirituality and religion."

The church added that he was a noted speaker and activist, and he founded both UFCM and Minority AIDS Project in Los Angeles.

Bean, an openly gay Motown singer, released the song "I Was Born This Way" in 1977. The song reached a new generation after Lady Gaga released the 2011 album and single "Born This Way." UFCM said Gaga paid tribute to Bean during interviews around the globe.

"The hit record, an anthem to the LGBTQ community and an inspiration to many, is still played and remixed around the world today," UFCM said.

Bean's version of the song included lyrics like "Yes, I'm gay/ It ain't a fault, it's a fact/ I was born this way" and "I'm happy/ I'm carefree/ and I'm gay/ I was born this way."

In May of this year, on the 10th anniversary of the album release, Gaga tweeted, "Born This Way, my song and album, were inspired by Carl Bean, a gay black religious activist who preached, sung and wrote about being “Born This Way.”"

She added: "Notably his early work was in 1975, 11 years before I was born."

Bean was born in Baltimore on May 26, 1944, according to the Washington Post. His father was 16 and his mother was only 15 when he was born.