Pop superstar Lady Gaga further cemented her well deserved reputation as a champion of LGBT rights at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night, when she brought four service members affected by Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as her dates.
With her record 13 nominations and a history of making headlines for her award show costume changes, all eyes were on Gaga for the evening, who decided to exploit this fact for a good cause. In addition to three military personnel who had been personally discharged under DADT, the singer brought with her top West Point cadet Katie Miller, who made headlines when resigned in August to protest the Clinton-era policy. After winning the award for Best Female Video for her song “Bad Romance,” Gaga gave the soldiers a shout-out and went on to thank “all the gays for remaking this video over and over again.”
She expressed her support further over Twitter with a rather lyrical Tweet: "Silks, fabrics, shoes + jewels, fashion dreams + breaking rules. Real heroes on my arm, tonight, is for us monsters, and our fight. X"
At The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s season premiere taping immediately following the VMAs, Gaga explained why she felt compelled to bring attention to DADT, saying “It is a law that violates so much of what we stand [for] as a generation, as free people, as America.”
She then urged her fans to call Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to push for a DADT vote in the Senate, adding “It is a devastation to me that I know my fans who are gay…they feel like they have governmental oppression on them.”
Gaga wore a dress made of raw meat to the taping, in part to symbolize the fact that "If we don't stand up for our right, pretty soon we're going to have as [many] rights as the meat on our bones." DeGeneres responded by giving her a bikini made of vegetables.
Lady Gaga has been a champion of LGBT equality from the earliest days of her career, and came out as bisexual long before reaching worldwide superstar status. Many of her subsequent videos contained homoerotic themes and images challenging conventional notions of gender, including those for “Love Game,” “Telephone,” and most recently “Alejandro,” which she described to Larry King on his CNN talk show as “a celebration of my love and appreciation for the gay community.”
In addition to her work as an artist, Gaga has also been an outspoken public advocate, such as her appearance at the 2009 National Equality March, at which she proclaimed “I can say with such certainty that this is the single most important moment of my career.” She went on to say it was vital for her generation to push the LGBT movement forward, and that “As a woman in pop music, and as a woman with the most beautiful gay fans in the whole world...I refuse to accept any misogynistic and homophobic behavior in music, lyrics, or actions in the music industry.”
Given the mounting evidence, Lady Gaga may just be the fiercest champion for gay rights to hit pop culture in ages. But does she deserve the title of reigning champ? Take our poll.