GLAAD’s Advocate for Change Award is presented to a person who, through their work, changed the game for LGBTQ people around the world. Madonna is the second person, and the first woman, to receive this award. President Bill Clinton was the first recipient of this award in 2013.
Madonna’s support for the LGBTQ community started at the beginning of her career during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. She performed at AIDS benefit concerts, created a benefit dance marathon, and spoke out and demanded action at a time when AIDS was too often invisible in the media. Madonna also included a leaflet in her album Like a Prayer entitled “The Facts about AIDS” in which she gave fans crucial information about AIDS.
More recently, Madonna has continued to use her platform to support the LGBTQ community, speaking out against anti-LGBTQ laws, policies, and practices. Madonna has spoken out for LGBTQ equality in Romania, Malawi, Russia and more and she continues to advocate for equality in the United States. She has also spoken against bullying of LGBTQ youth and related LGBTQ youth suicide. In 2013, when presenting Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, she dressed as a Boy Scout in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members. Madonna has also participated in intersectional advocacy, speaking at the first Women’s March on Washington for women’s equality, and speaking out against Trump’s child detention policy.