Madonna accepted the Advocate for Change Award at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards and gave an emotional speech about befriending a gay man led to the experience that changed her life.
The pop star received her award at the Hilton Midtown in New York on Saturday night and talked about her work with the LGBTQ community and how she ended up devoted to the cause.
"Why have I always fought for change? That’s a hard question to answer," she said. "It’s like trying to explain the importance of reading or the need to love. Growing up I always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t fit in."
She continued, "The first gay man I ever met was named Christopher Flynn. He was my ballet teacher in high school and he was the first person that believed in me, that made me feel special as a dancer, as an artist, and as a human being. I know this sounds trivial and superficial, but he was the first man to tell me I was beautiful."
Madonna then told the story of the first time Flynn took her to a gay club and how that night influenced her.
"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," she explained. "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."
The event also honored Andy Cohen, two FX shows — “Pose” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” — Samantha Bee, the film “Boy Erased,” CNN’s Don Lemon and singer Janelle Monae.
The 2019 GLAAD Media Awards air on Logo on May 12.