While being honored at GLAAD’s 30th Annual Media Awards Saturday night, Madonna took the chance to explain why she has long identified with the LGBTQ community.
When the singer took the stage to accept the organization’s Advocate for Change Award, she gave a heartfelt speech.
“Why have I always fought for change? That’s a hard question to answer,” she said. “It’s like trying to explain the importance of reading, or the need to love. Growing up, I always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t fit in. It wasn’t because I didn’t shave under my armpits — I just didn’t fit in, OK.
“The first gay man I ever met was named Christopher Flynn. He was my ballet teacher in high school and he was the first person that believed in me, that made me feel special as a dancer, as an artist, and as a human being. I know this sounds trivial and superficial, but he was the first man to tell me I was beautiful.”
“Madonna always has and always will be the LGBTQ community’s greatest ally and it is only fitting to honor and celebrate our biggest advocate at GLAAD’s biggest event ever,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement prior to the ceremony.
“From the HIV crisis to international LGBTQ issues, she fearlessly pushes for a world where LGBTQ people are accepted. Her music and art have been life-saving outlets for LGBTQ people over the years and her affirming words and actions have changed countless hearts and minds.”
Madonna is the second person to receive the award. President Bill Clinton was awarded the honor in 2013.
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize artists, journalists, media companies and others for fair and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives, according to GLAAD’s website.