If there’s a blueprint for the post-modern gay icon, it has got to be Lady Gaga. Arguably the biggest star of the last decade, Gaga’s bold, provocative take on pop culture may have yielded wildly divergent incarnations (and at times uneven artistic results), but one consistent element has been her steadfast support of the LGBT community.
It’s a relationship that goes back to Gaga’s start. After dropping out of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Collaborative Arts Project 21, she immersed herself in New York City’s downtown art scene. She began cultivating a rabid gay following, which she continues to embrace. As she described to MTV, “The turning point for me was the gay community,” she said. “I’ve got so many gay fans and they’re so loyal to me and they really lifted me up. They’ll always stand by me and I’ll always stand by them.”
And she has. Since rocketing to superstardom in 2008, Gaga has been committed to advocating for LGBT causes. She’s advocated to end discrimination in Russia, to boycott the Sochi Olympics and for marriage equality. She rallied her massive fan base to mobilize for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, even going so far as to bring gay servicemen and women as her escort to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. She’s appeared at marches, rallies and galas. She even dissolved a partnership with Target due to the company’s record of supporting some anti-LGBT candidates and organizations.
Then there’s the overall celebration of individuality and otherness that permeates her music. From her otherworldly fashion sense to her oft-professed love for her ‘Little Monsters,’ Gaga has been a champion for young people who may feel persecuted for being different. In 2012, she launched the Born This Way Foundation, which aims to empower young people.
That’s just the beginning. Take a look at just a few of our many favorite Gaga moments, AFTER THE JUMP …