Don’t tell her to stop … her LGBTQ advocacy.
GLAAD will award singer and all-around icon Madonna with its Advocate for Change Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, the LGBTQ media advocacy organization announced Tuesday. Madonna is only the second person, and the first woman, to receive the award after former president Bill Clinton, who received the award in 2013.
“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. “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.”
GLAAD cited Madonna’s AIDS benefits concerts and action to raise awareness around the AIDS epidemic as reasons for bestowing her the honor. The 1991 documentary Truth or Dare also showed Madonna accepting her mostly gay dance crew to live authentically and, as GLAAD points out, Madonna encouraged Ellen DeGeneres to come out in 1997.
GLAAD’s 30th awards ceremony also coincides with an important 30th anniversary for Madonna. This year is the 30th anniversary of her iconic album Like a Prayer, the parent album to singles like “Like a Prayer,” “Express Yourself,” and “Cherish.”
Madonna surprised patrons at New York’s Stonewall Inn, site of the historic Stonewall Riots, on New Year’s Eve with a performance and empowering speech.
“I stand here proudly at the place where Pride began,” she read from rainbow-colored cards in front of the crowd. “Let us never forget the Stonewall riots and those who bravely stood up and said ‘enough.’ We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution, 50 years of freedom-fighting. We all bleed the same color, and we all need to love and be loved. I walk in the shadow of giants, of freedom fighters who have come before me, but let’s be giants ourselves and carry each other on our shoulders into a new year and into a future of love and understanding.”
The LGBTQ organization announced its annual GLAAD Media Award nominees on last month. This year was the first time that LGBTQ-inclusive video games were eligible for GLAAD Media Awards in a category of their own. Prior to the release of the list, GLAAD shared that it pulled Bohemian Rhapsody’s nomination in the outstanding film category after a story in The Atlantic unearthed multiple allegations of sexual assault, including some involving underage boys.