To celebrate Madonna’s birthday here’s 5 times she was the ultimate ally

Madonna celebrates her 63rd birthday today, and to mark the occasion we’re highlighting 5 times Madonna was a total boss LGBTIQA ally.

Throughout her long career Madonna has promoted LGBTIQA+ inclusion, promoted safe sex and highlighted the AIDS pandemic – way before other celebrities spoke out. She’s also given us a life time of tunes that have spanned many albums, soundtracks and b-sides.

When she included facts about HIV inside her Like a Prayer album

In 1989 the HIV/AIDS pandemic was at its height and without effective treatments HIV was still often a death sentence for those who contracted the virus. Madonna included a fact sheet about HIV inside her new album, Like a Prayer would be one of her biggest records ever. The album was also scented to smell like patchouli oil.

The info Madonna supplied to millions of fans was update in the late 1980’s but head to the WA AIDS Council for the facts as they stand today.

When she put the lives of her gay dancers and gay rights protests on screen in Truth or Dare: In Bed With Madonna

Thirty years ago Madonna’s documentary film Truth or Dare: In Bed With Madonna opened in cinemas and documented her 1990 Blonde Ambition World Tour. We saw into the lives of Madonna’s backing dancers, gay rights marches in New York and HIV advocacy. For many of us it was the first time we saw two men kissing or heard the chant ‘We’re Here, We’re Queer.”

Decade later a second documentary Strike a Pose looked into the lives of the dancers and their recollections of the tour and film. In this clip from the second doco people talk about the effect the original film had on their lives.

When she dressed up as a boy scout

In 2013 Madonna was at the GLAAD Media Awards where she was invited to present an award to broadcaster Anderson Cooper.

Madonna dressed a boy scout and delivered a 10 minute speech on LGBTIQA+ rights, while praising Cooper’s work, and chastising the Boy Scouts of America, who were maintaining a policy that didn’t allow queer kids to be part of the organisation.

“I think I should be allowed to be allowed to be a Boy Scout. And I think they should change their stupid rules.” Madonna said.

When she gave out pink wrist bands in Russia 

In 2012 Madonna showed support for Russia’s LGBTIQA+ communities when she handed out pink wrist bands at her St Petersberg concert and asked people to raise their hands in support of gay, lesbian and transgender Russians.

“I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed. I’m a freedom fighter.” Madonna said ahead of the concert.

Local authorities warned Madonna that she’d be breaking the countries strict anti-gay propaganda laws, but she did it anyway. In 2020 the singer said she was fined $1million for the action but never paid. Her claim’s validity however has been questioned.

When she got hot and sweaty at an AIDS Dance-a-thon 

In 1989 Madonna took part in a Dance-a-thon to raise money for HIV support and research. The singer appeared at the event with Sandra Bernhard, back-up singer Nikki Harris and Who’s That Girl co-star Coati Mundi.

Madonna supported the event and introduced Christopher Flynn, who was one of her first dancing teachers.  Madonna later shared that he was the first gay man she ever met, and took her to her first gay club.  Flynn passed away from an AIDS related illness the following year.

Happy 63rd birthday Madonna – your a great ally because we could have easily made this list 50 entries long. 

OIP Staff

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