Since her first hit, the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper “Just Dance,” Lady Gaga has kept the gays on the dance floor, belting out tunes along with her. It’s a well-known fact that Miss Germanotta is not only a famed hitmaker, she’s also one of the LGBTQ community's fiercest advocates. From her iconic sartorial choices to her dedication to LGBTQ youth outreach, here are eight reasons (though we could probably find a million) that Gaga earned her stripes as a gay icon.
She came out as bisexual -- and doubled down on it.
In a 2009 interview with Barbara Walters, Lady Gaga came out as bisexual, explaining that her jam “Poker Face” was about another woman. While her sex life is none of our business, having a bona fide superstar casually come out before millions on national TV is undoubtedly a milestone. Since coming out, critics have voiced doubts about the singer’s sexuality; however, they were put to rest in an interview with Andy Cohen. During her Artpop-era appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Gaga stated, “It’s not a lie that I am bisexual and I like women, and anyone that wants to twist this into ‘she says she’s bisexual for marketing,’ this is a f---ing lie. This is who I am and who I have always been.” Bi-erasure, who?
She used her platform to start a massive anti-bullying nonprofit.
Since founding the Born This Way Foundation in 2011, Mother Monster -- and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta -- have helped thousands of LGBTQ children and teens. The BTWF has launched initiatives like #HackHarrassment, Channel Kindness, and #KindMonsters -- not to mention a collaboration with Starbucks -- all to help end bullying of LGBTQ youth.
She stopped by the Ali Forney Center.
Since 2002, the Ali Forney Center in New York City has served more than 1,400 at-risk LGBTQ youth a year. In 2016, Lady Gaga paid the center a visit, bringing gifts, guiding meditation and opening up about her struggles with PTSD.
She scored a touchdown with her Super Bowl performance.
Never one to shy away from politics, many expected Gaga to use her Super Bowl halftime show as a platform to further voice her objections to President Donald Trump. Before the show, Gaga stated she would not politicize her performance: “The only statements that I’ll be making during the halftime show are the ones that I’ve been consistently making throughout my career. I believe in a passion for inclusion. I believe in the spirit of equality, and that the spirit of this country is one of love and compassion and kindness. My performance will uphold those philosophies.” While she never mentioned the president, her passion for equality was still made clear when she sang LGBTQ anthem “Born This Way” for 111.75 million viewers. Not only that, but the choice to perform Woodie Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" -- a socialist sing-along -- has been interpreted as a subtle message to the current administration. Touchdown, indeed!
She sashayed onto "RuPaul's Drag Race."
When it was announced that Gaga would be on the season 9 premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race, fans across the world Ru-joiced. Not only did she enter the workroom as if she were another contestant -- using the pseudonym Ronnie -- but she also sat down with the queens backstage for a touching pep talk. Can she compete in the next iteration of All-Stars? Please?
She wore meat.
Ah yes, the infamous meat dress: one of the defining moments of Gaga’s image early in her career. While the Franc Fernandez-designed dress lives vividly in our memory, it’s often forgotten that she wore it to protest Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which prevented members of the U.S. armed forces from being openly gay while serving their country. Earlier in the night, Gaga was accompanied on the VMA white carpet by four former members of the U.S. military, some of whom were discharged because of their sexual orientation.
She created a safe place.
During her massively successful Born This Way Ball, Gaga wanted to make sure that everyone felt the love. To ensure this, she opened the Born Brave Bus as a space for Little Monsters to unite pre-show and discuss issues like mental health and bullying.
She is the soundtrack at any (and every) gay club.
You could go to any gay bar, anywhere in the world, and it is guaranteed that at least three Lady Gaga songs will be played through the course of the night. While “Born This Way” might contain Gaga’s most blatant lyrics about the LGBTQ community, jams like “Bad Romance,” “Edge of Glory” and “LoveGame” are gay crowd-pleasers. But when it comes to non-singles, “Donatella” is it: As soon as she opens with “I am so fab,” there’s no option but to run onto the dance floor like a crazed maniac.