Madonna as a gay icon

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Madonna's speech at the 24th GLAAD Media Award ceremony

Madonna is considered a gay icon and the gay community has embraced her as a pop culture icon.[1] According to The Advocate, Madonna is the greatest gay icon.[2]

Life as an LGBT icon[edit]

Madonna was introduced to the gay community while still a teenager. It was her ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn, a gay man, who first told Madonna that she was beautiful and that she had something to offer the world.[3] He also introduced her to the local gay community of Detroit, Michigan, often taking her to local gay bars and discotheques. Flynn also encouraged Madonna to walk away from her partial scholarship to the University of Michigan and move to Manhattan to pursue a career as a professional dancer.[3][4]

In August 2009, during a show in Bucharest, Romania, during her Sticky and Sweet Tour, Madonna criticized discrimination against the Roma, also speaking against the discrimination of gays.[5] In his 2008 autobiography Hit Man, record producer David Foster relates a meeting with Madonna where he expresses distaste at the sight of two men kissing; Madonna scowled and responded, "Two men kissing should be looked at as normal! You represent everything I'm trying to change."[citation needed]

Madonna speaking against the "homosexual propaganda" laws during concert in Russia.

In June 2010, Madonna released a statement criticizing the decision to jail two men in Malawi because they celebrated their union with a ceremony. Madonna's statement included the following excerpt: "As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. This week, Malawi took a giant step backward. The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support our basic human right to love and be loved. I call upon the progressive men and women of Malawi—and around the world—to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all."[6][7]

In November 2010, Madonna made a special appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to speak against the bullying of children and teenagers in general, including the bullying of gay teens and related recent suicides. In her conversation with DeGeneres, Madonna reiterated how she became close to the gay community when she was a teenager, stating that she felt different in high school and found acceptance and sympathy among gay friends, particularly her dance instructor. She also said "In fact, I wouldn't have a career if it weren't for the gay community."[8]

In June 2011, Madonna urged her fans to support same-sex marriage in New York, posting the following message on her website: "New Yorkers your voices must be heard. Tell your state Congressmen to support same sex marriage bill. All you need is love."[9] The Marriage Equality Act passed one week later, legalizing same-sex marriage in New York.

In March 2013, Madonna presented the Vito Russo Award to openly gay journalist Anderson Cooper at the 24th GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Dressed as a Boy Scout, in protest of the Boy Scouts of America's ban on homosexual Scouts and Scout leaders,[10] she gave a speech in which she stated that "things like bigotry, homophobia, hate crimes, bullying and any form of discrimination always seem to be a manifestation of fear of the unknown." and wagered that "if we just took the time to get to know one another, did our own investigation, looked beneath the surface of things, that we would find that we are not so different after all." She also said "you cannot use the name of God or religion to justify acts of violence to hurt, to hate, to discriminate." and called to start a revolution, asking the crowd "Are you with me? It's 2013, people. We live in America — land of the free and home of the brave? That's a question, not a statement."[11]

In 2016, to pay tribute to her contributions to the LGBT community, contestants of the eighth season of reality competition show RuPaul's Drag Race were asked to present iconic Madonna looks on the runway. Of the 8 contestants that were still in the competition, 4 wore kimono looks in reference to Madonna's "Nothing Really Matters" music video.[12] In effort to address the criticism the runway received for its repetitiveness, it was brought back for season nine.[13] In season 12, the reality show paid tribute to Madonna again as the contestants performed in Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical, a musical that chronicled her major accomplishments and contributions to the LGBT community.[14][15]

In 2019, the book "Madonna : the greatest gay obsession : interpreting the essence of the emotion, the rational and the never-seen-before admiration by gays towards the greatest diva in the world" by Doron Braunshtein Aka Apollo Braun was published.

In 2020, she posted on her Instagram story encouraging her fans to sign a petition on anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Additionally, several of Madonna's songs and projects addressed homosexuality. Her 1991 documentary Madonna: Truth or Dare and music videos for her songs "Justify My Love", "Erotica", and "Vogue" helped bring awareness to the LGBT community. The music video for "God Control", which related to gun violence, contained a scene of Madonna and a group of people being gunned down at a nightclub, similar to that of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shootings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grew, Tony (January 5, 2007). "Gordon Ramsay 50th most popular gay icon". Pink News. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  2. ^ Karpel, Ari (February 2, 2012). "Madonna: The Truth Is She Never Left You". The Advocate. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b (Omnibus, BBC, December 1990)
  4. ^ The Howard Stern Show (March 12, 2015), OFFICIAL AUDIO: Madonna on the Howard Stern Show (3-11-15), retrieved February 28, 2016
  5. ^ Harris, Chris (August 27, 2009). "Madonna Booed After Standing Up For Gypsies In Romania - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Stand for equal rights and human dignity for all". Raising Malawi. Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  7. ^ Editors. "Madonna Condemns Malawi Gay Sentence". The Advocate. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  8. ^ "Web Exclusive: The Unedited Madonna Interview". YouTube. November 9, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  9. ^ "News - Madonna's Statement To New Yorkers". Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  10. ^ Michelson, Noah (March 17, 2013). "Madonna Dresses As Boy Scout, Slams Organization's Gay Ban And Honors Anderson Cooper (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Hawks, Asa. "VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Madonna's full speech at GLAAD Media Awards in boy scout uniform". Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race Recap: Snatch Me If You Can". Vulture. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race Recap, Season 9 Episode 6: Snatch Game". May 3, 2017. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  14. ^ "Watch rare 'Drag Race' footage of queens slaying Madonna musical in record time". Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  15. ^ McCallion, Paul (April 11, 2020). "RuPaul's Drag Race Recap: Get Into the GRuve". Vulture. Retrieved March 5, 2021.

External links[edit]