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Lady Gaga's Self-Portrait for Advocate Mag

Lady-Gaga_Advocate_Self-Portrait

“My love for my gay fans is just pure, authentic love for them as supporters of me from the beginning, and me feeling connected to their struggles as someone who is a part of their fight.” — Lady Gaga

Through skepticism and criticism, pop superstar Lady Gaga remains one of the most outspoken advocates for LGBT equality today. She’s been accused of not being gay enough to claim one of the letters the aforementioned acronym, and critics say her activism is superficial, but through it all her devotion to supporting marriage equality, fighting the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and increasing AIDS awareness remains strong. The Advocate’s Jeremy Kinser spoke with Lady Gaga about her activism, her critics, and her music. [ COVER + STORY ]

Lady-Gaga_Advocate_Self-Portrait-2

While she may be frustrated by the backlash she has faced, she understands that with fame comes cynicism. “Rumors, shots at me as a human being, that’s what comes with the territory of being a musician and being someone who is a public figure,” Gagaconfesses. “I care only about what I can change. What can I push forward? How can I be a part of the fight for modern social issues?”

Lady Gaga put her money where her mouth was, however, in a recent controversy with mega-retailer Target. The company was set to sell a special edition of Gaga’s album Born This Way, but many LGBTs expressed indignation at the deal after Target came under fire when the company’s corporate PAC made campaign contributions to support anti-gay candidate Tom Emmer in his failed 2010 run for governor of Minnesota. After the outcry, Gaga met with the company’s “entire executive staff” and soon thereafter canceled the deal.

“You’re either going to try and change or you’re not,” Gaga recalls of the meeting, in which she insisted Target ally itself with LGBT charities and organizations. And, while terms of the deal were not made public, they did not satisfy the singer. “Taking an ambiguous stance is not what I’m about, obviously. I like to go right for the ass-kicker. You’re either in or you’re out. I’m from New York. I know bullshit. I can smell it from a mile away.”

Lady Gaga has also faced backlash—fair or not—for drawing too heavily from another gay favorite and equality advocate, Madonna. Gaga recognizes those comparisons as well as those to other women she admires, including Barbra Streisand. “There’s no drama, there’s no jealousy, there’s no competition,” she says. “They’re just happy to see other women winning. I just feel so connected to Madonna in a lot of ways, and I feel connected to Barbra, and I feel connected to Cher and Blondie and all of the women who came before me.”

Read the full Lady Gaga feature now at ADVOCATE.com.

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