Words: Steve Brown
Madonna gave an emotional speech honouring the gay men who helped her realise it is ‘OK to be different’ and gave her hope.
During the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards over the weekend, the iconic singer accepted the Advocate for Change Award and while accepting the award, she gave a moving speech mentioning close friend Keith Haring.
While discussing her 1991 documentary, Truth or Dare, Madonna jokingly said: “I had no idea it was going to inspire so many gay men to, A, give blow jobs to Evian bottles, or, B, just have the courage to come out and be free and take a stand and say this is who I am, like it or not.”
Continuing her speech, she spoke about the first gay man she met, her high school dance instructor Christopher Flynn who, she says, was the first person to believe in her.
Flynn took Madonna to her first gay club in Detroit and she admitted it was the first time she saw a ‘kind of freedom and joy and happiness’ she had never seen before.
She continued: “For the first time I saw men kissing men, girls dressed like boys, boys wearing hot pants, insane, incredible dancing and a kind of freedom and joy and happiness that I had never seen before.
“I finally felt like I was not alone, that it was OK to be different and to not be like everybody else.
“And that after all, I was not a freak. I felt at home, and it gave me hope.”
Her speech took a moving turn as she mentioned the Aids epidemic that took the lives of many her close friends.
“The plague that moved in like a black cloud over New York City and in a blink of an eye, took out all of my friends,” she said.
“After I lost my best friend and roommate Martin Burgoyne and then Keith Haring, happy birthday Keith, I decided to take up the bull horn and really fight back.”
Watch some of her speech below: