The latest single from Lady Gaga, “Applause,” already has fans arguing over whether the songstress is still relevant, the real debate is, when it comes to outspoken advocates for LGBT equality, whether any other singer sets a higher standard than Mother Monster.
From marching in Pride parades to launching her own nonprofit antibullying organization, Gaga has repeatedly fought for LGBT equality since the earliest days of her career, taking every opportunity to voice her support in interviews, during acceptance speeches, and even in televised performances.
The following 12 memorable moments show Gaga hasn’t merely raised the bar for those who would claim the status of gay icon, she’s completely reinvented the criteria.
“To God and the Gays”
Lady Gaga positioned herself as an LGBT advocate from earliest days of her career. At the 2009 MuchMusic Awards, Gaga’s “Poker Face” won International Video of the Year, and she ended her acceptance speech by sending thanks “to God and the gays.” That same year Gaga made the cover of Out magazine’s September issue. “I very much want to inject gay culture into the mainstream,” she told Out. “It's not an underground tool for me. It's my whole life. So I always sort of joke the real motivation is to just turn the world gay.”
Shortly after Barbara Walters named Lady Gaga one of the most fascinating people of 2009, the singer sat down for a one-on-one interview with the legendary journalist, and Gaga spoke openly about being bisexual. During the interview, Gaga stated that she liked both men and women, and when Walters asked if she’d ever had sex with another female, Gaga replied, “I’ve certainly had sexual relationships with women, yes.”