By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com July 06 2011 7:00 AM ET
Next to making music and caring for her beloved little monsters, Lady Gaga tells us
she spends the bulk of her time thinking about ways to battle social
injustice. With much of the world at her Alexander McQueen-clad feet,
the bisexual Gaga is using her power to be a leading voice for her
fellow LGBTs. The busiest lady in show business makes time to record
public service announcements, march with activists, and deliver
inspiring speeches whenever and wherever she's needed. Here are 10 of
Gaga's more notable efforts to help achieve equality.
The Other First Lady
In one weekend in October 2009, Lady Gaga walked alongside thousands in the National March for Equality, addressed the crowd, and received a standing ovation for performing John Lennon's "Imagine" at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner. So strong was her impact that President Obama joked that he was her opening act. Watch video below.
Equality, Party of Five
Sure, for some Gaga's appearance at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards will likely be remembered as the night she unveiled her infamous raw-meat dress and asked presenter Cher to hold her meat purse (the chutzpah!). However, it was also the evening Gaga, nominated for 13 awards, turned her arrival into a platform for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" by choosing as her escorts four service members who'd resigned or been discharged for being gay.
A conservatively attired Gaga (a star-spangled tie was her sole flourish) delivered her self-penned rousing, now-legendary speech before thousands of activists in Maine. The rally was organized by the Washington-based Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to pressure Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine to vote for repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. "Equality is the prime rib of what we stand for as a nation," Gaga stated. "And I don’t get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat that my country has to offer." Watch video below.
Are You Not Entertained?
In June, Gaga performed before a gargantuan crowd at Rome's ancient Circus Maximus stadium as part of EuroPride. Before singing, Gaga took Eastern European and Middle Eastern governments to task for discriminating against LGBT people. "I stand here as a woman of the world and I ask governments, with you, worldwide to facilitate our dream of equality," Gaga pleaded. Watch video below. See more photo here.
Making a Mark
When the Monster Ball stopped in Buffalo, N.Y., last March, Gaga called on her fans to send "2,000 emails" to encourage Republican state senator Mark Grisanti to cast his vote in support of marriage equality. "There's a senator here in Buffalo that's on the fence about whether or not to vote for this particular bill and I would like to give you all his email," Gaga said. "His name is Sen. Mark Grisanti." Watch video below.
Love to Hate You
The entertainer knew she'd hit the big time when she was confronted by posters that read "God Hates Lady Gaga," the work of the creativity-challenged members of the virulently antigay Westboro Baptist Church, who were determined to picket Gaga's St. Louis concert. Gaga urged her little monsters to not engage the haters in conversation and in a note posted on Facebook told fans they should "feel gratitude in your heart that you are not burdened or addicted to hate, as they are." Watch video below.
She's Got a Point
For her appearance on Good Morning America last February, the ever-fashionable safe-sex proponent wore a flesh-colored latex condom-inspired dress topped with a diaphragm hat. “Today, I really wanted to head-to-toe be representative of what we women and people all over the world need to be concerned about,” Gaga said, “which is the leading cause of death in women all around the world, which is HIV." Watch video below.
Gaga canceled a potentially lucrative deal with Target to release an exclusive edition of her anthem-filled album Born This Way when the retail giant, already in hot water with gay activists for controversial donations, wouldn't commit to Gaga's demand to ally itself with LGBT charities. “You’re either going to try and change or you’re not,” Gaga said. “Taking an ambiguous stance is not what I’m about, obviously."
Last September, Gaga released a video in which she urged viewers to contact their senators directly ahead of voting on the National Defense Authorization Act, which at the time included “don't ask, don't tell” repeal. “We are not asking you to agree with or approve the moral implications of homosexuality. We're asking you to do your job, to protect the Constitution,” Gaga insisted. Watch video below.
Though her "Born This Way" single topped charts around the world, Malaysian radio stations garbled the lyrics to prevent listeners’ exposure to “offensive” gay content. Last weekend Gaga visited Taiwan for the first time and promised fans that she would tour Asia in 2012.