It’s no mystery that Madonna has dedicated decades of service and support to the LGBT community. Now on January 5 the Bridgehampton resident was named this year’s recipient of the GLAAD Advocate for Change Award, which will be commemorated during the annual GLAAD Media Awards 30th year.
The Advocate for Change Award has only been awarded to one other person (and a fellow Hamptonite): Former President Bill Clinton was given the distinction for his efforts overturning the anti-LGBT Defense of Marriage Act, and for advancing marriage equality nationwide.
Madonna has done more than enough in the fight for equal rights. When two men were arrested for marrying in Malawi, she released a statement on their behalf, explaining, “As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, color, religion or sexual orientation.” Over the years, she’s spoken against bullying of LGBT youth and the devastating rate of LGBT youth suicide. Most recently, she surprised the patrons at Stonewall Inn with a small concert on New Year’s Eve.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis can’t think of a better person to give the award to. She says, “From the HIV crisis to international LGBT issues, she fearlessly pushes for a world where LGBT 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.”
Even if she hasn’t received the award util now, Madonna and the organization have fought together on the same hill since the beginning. GLAAD was founded in 1985 in response to the horrible press coverage of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and since the 1980s, the pop star has worked to shine light on the issue. She included a leaflet in her album Like a Prayer entitled “The Facts about AIDS.” She performed at AIDS Benefit concerts and raised the issue during a time when people were almost afraid to speak its name.
For all this and more, the icon will receive her Advocate for Change Award on May 4 in New York City. Needless to say, Madonna hasn’t done all this for the recognition but she deserves to get it.