Lady Gaga has been using her platform to advocate for LGBT equality for years, from her speech at the 2009 National Equality March, to her statements supporting the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, to "Born This Way." But LGBT issues seem to really hit home for her when they involve young people and the problem of bullying.
At a concert in Las Vegas this weekend, Lady Gaga paid tribute to Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14 year-old who was subjected to anti-gay bullying, and who died by suicide earlier this month.
But she took the issue even further, attending a fundraiser for President Obama on Sunday, and taking him aside to speak about the issue with him. ABC News reports:
According to a source present in the tent fundraiser, Gaga asked a question during the Q&A. She first thanked the president for what he’s accomplished, then read from what she said was a letter from a fan about the suicide of another fan who had been subjected to bullying.
She thanked Obama for hosting his anti-bullying conference with Michelle Obama, and then made a general plea to everyone in the room, including the president, to do what they can to prevent bullying.
Obama thanked her, spoke about his administration’s anti-bullying campaign, and then more generally about the importance of values and who we are as Americans.
While it's wonderful that the media is covering this story and continuing to bring attention to bullying, we'd like to see just as much news coverage focused on exactly what Lady Gaga pleaded - how to prevent it, and how to protect those who are the victims of it from further harm. We'd like to see stories of safe spaces and schools that have turned the issue around. We'd like to see stories of reformed bullies and what made them change their outlook. With October being National Bullying Prevention Awareness month (and with October 20th being Spirit Day) we'd like to see stories that focus on the positive, forward-thinking steps we can take as a society and as individuals to keep our young people safe, and to let them know that we love and support them, no matter who they are.