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Hero of the Month: Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga has gotten a lot of well-deserved LGBT love recently following Glee’s episode featuring her gay anthem, “Born This Way.”* The episode developed multiple gay story lines while promoting self-acceptance in general. It also generated some right-wing hate that was so retro as to be almost comical. One hysterical commentator called the episode the “latest depraved initiative to promote [a] gay agenda.” Lady Gaga responded with a simple message to the creators of Glee: “Never back down.”

Just as deserving of attention, however, are Lady Gaga’s efforts to help LGBT homeless youth. Lady Gaga announced recently that she is donating a milion dollars to five New York charities doing work in that field, and she is taking a clever approach to help publicize that work. Via a facebook contest, she is asking her fans to vote on how the money should be allocated among the five charities. By engaging her fans in this way, many more people will learn about their work than if Lady Gaga had simply picked an organization and donated to it. You can vote yourself and read up on each charity at the contest’s facebook page.

This is not the first time that the bisexual star has taken a creative approach to promoting LGBT causes. She was a warrior of the DADT repeal effort, for instance. She showed up at the MTV music awards with an entourage of four openly gay and lesbian service members: Mike Almy, Katie Miller, David Hall and Stacy Vasquez. She made an impromptu appearance in Maine to help put pressure on Republican Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to vote for repeal. She brought her star power to the National Equality March on Washington. And she mobilized her “little monsters” via video to contact their representatives and encourage them to support repeal.

Lady Gaga also demonstrated her commitment during the controversy arising from Target’s hefty contribution to a PAC supporting an anti-gay-marriage candidate. She tried to extract LGBT-friendly concessions from Target as part of a distribution deal for her new single “Born This Way.” When Target refused, she dumped Target.

As the struggle for marriage equality in New York heats up, we can look forward to further engagement from Lady Gaga. She has once again mobilized her fans to pressure representatives in support of LGBT rights.

“Never back down.” Words to live by.

* On a side note, many say “Born This Way” is a rip-off of Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” As a fan of both Lady Gaga and Madonna, I guess I prefer to see the song as an homage...

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