Madonna, Advocate for Change
Madonna is being recognized for a lifetime of championing the LGBTQ community at GLAAD‘s 30th annual Media Awards in New York City tonight.
The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor artists, journalists, media companies and others for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives. They also fund GLAAD’s work to amplify stories from the LGBTQ community that build support for equality. Madonna is due to receive the Advocate for Change Award – which goes to a person who “through their work, changed the game for LGBTQ people around the world.”
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement:
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. 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.
The GLAAD Advocate for Change Award has only been given out once before to former President Bill Clinton for his advocacy work to overturn the anti-LGBTQ Defense of Marriage Act and advance marriage equality nationwide during the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2013.
Madonna’s support for the LGBTQ community started at the beginning of her career during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
She performed at HIV/AIDS benefit concerts, created a benefit dance marathon, and spoke out and demanded action at a time when HIV/AIDS was too often invisible in the media.
Madonna also included a leaflet in her album Like a Prayer entitled “The Facts about AIDS” in which she gave fans crucial information about HIV/AIDS.
More recently, Madonna has continued to use her platform to support the LGBTQ community, speaking out against anti-LGBTQ laws, policies, and practices, speaking out for LGBTQ equality in Romania, Malawi, Russia and more and she continues to advocate for equality in the United States. She has also spoken against bullying of LGBTQ youth and related LGBTQ youth suicide. In 2013, when presenting Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, she dressed as a Boy Scout in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on LGBTQ people.
This past New Year’s Eve, Madonna gave a surprise performance at the Stonewall Inn, an historic venue for LGBTQ rights, to celebrate its upcoming anniversary and, in her words, “fifty years of revolution.” Madonna has also participated in intersectional advocacy, speaking at the first Women’s March on Washington for women’s equality, and speaking out against Trump’s child detention policy.
The GLAAD Media Awards will also be honoring Andy Cohen with the Vito Russo Award. Special guests will be the event host Shangela and after party performer Mila Jam. Kalen Allen, Samantha Bee, Anthony Bowens, Rachel Brosnahan, Anderson Cooper, Winnie Harlow, Don Lemon, Ryan Murphy, Sarah Jessica Parker and MJ Rodriguez are also attending.