Today’s LGBT History Month icon is bisexual global superstar Lady Gaga.
Born March 28 1986, Lady Gaga has had three consecutive best-selling albums and one of the highest-grossing tours. Lady Gaga is known not only for her singing, performing and outlandish costumes, but also for her willingness to use her considerable fame to try and benefit her chosen causes.
Real name Stefani Germanotta, she is the first of two daughters born to working class parents in Yonkers, New York. She describes her younger self as an “artsy, musical-theatre, nerdy girl who got good grades, who learned the tricks of self-reinvention, and [had] a look that veered between a bit too sexy and a bit strange.”
Raised Roman Catholic, she graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart School before attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She left the school after two years to work on her musical career. In 2005, she was signed by Def Jam Recording and worked as a songwriter for Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls.
Lady Gaga’s persona is derived from her unique, androgynous, vintage-themed fashion sense and constructing her own costumes. In 2008, Gaga produced her first album, “The Fame.” The album has two international hits, “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” The Fame Ball Tour premiered Lady Gaga’s innovative use of performance art and glam rock to form a multimedia party.
Her second album, “The Fame Monster,” received critical acclaim. The hit song “Bad Romance” earned Lady Gaga two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video. Her third album, “Born This Way,” topped the charts within days of its release. She has sold 15 million albums and 51 million singles.
Lady Gaga has won five Grammy Awards and holds two Guinness World Records. She was named 2010 Artist of the Year and the top-selling artist of 2010 by Billboard. In 2010, Time magazine named her Most Influential Artist, and in 2011, Forbes listed her among its World’s Most Powerful.
Openly bisexual, Lady Gaga is an outspoken LGBT equality advocate. She spoke at the 2009 National Equality March in Washington, D.C., calling it “the single most important event” of her career. She was a leading activist for the repeal of ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Through her music, concerts and demonstrations, she continues to fight for LGBT rights.
You may remember that when Congress was considering repealing DADT, the military’s ban on openly gay service personnel, Lady Gaga twice recorded videos urging her fans to pressure lawmakers to do their jobs and end the inequality faced by lesbian and gay service personnel. You can watch one of those videos below:
When 14-year-old Lady Gaga fan Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life just a few weeks ago because of bullying related to his perceived sexual orientation, Lady Gaga reacted with distress. She put out a message to her Twitter followers that bullying should be illegal and announced that she would be meeting with President Obama to discuss the issue. President Obama later confirmed that he had indeed met with Lady Gaga.
Below you can see footage from an iHeartRadio show that occurred in the wake of Jamey’s death in which Lady Gaga dedicated her song “Hair” to Jamey’s memory:
Finally, below you can see Lady Gaga’s recent duet with Tony Bennett. Together they sing “The Lady is a Tramp”:
- Grigoriadis, Vanessa. “How Lady Gaga Became the World’s Biggest Pop.” New York Magazine. 13 June 2011.
- “Lady Gaga.” Forbes.com. 13 June 2011.
- “Lady Gaga: Biography.” LADY GAGA. 13 June 2011.
- Warrington, Ruby, “Lady Gaga: Ready for Her Close-up.” The Times. 13 June 2011.
- Zak, Dan. “Lady Gaga, Already a Gay Icon, Shows She’s an Activist Too.” The Washington Post. 13 June 2011.
Image taken from LGBT History Month video, no infringement intended.