By Adam S. Levy For Dailymail.com
Madonna has opened up about her longstanding relationship with the LGBTQ community, and the impact she felt receiving GLAAD’s Advocate for Change Award at the organization’s media awards this past Saturday in New York City.
‘A big part of my history is intertwined with being an advocate for change,’ the 60-year-old Medellín artist told the Today show Monday.
‘It meant a lot to me, cause it’s not superficial … I had to try and stop crying a few times,’ she said. ‘I have a lot of memories over the last 30 years and fighting for change and being in the trenches.’
The latest: Madonna, 60, opened up to the Today show Tuesday about her longstanding relationship with the LGBTQ community, and the impact she felt receiving GLAAD’s Advocate for Change Award at the organization’s media awards this Saturday in NYC
The Grammy-winner recalled the tragic times of the 1980s amid the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
‘I lived through a lot of painful moments and lost a lot of friends,’ the Take A Bow singer said. ‘It was not an easy journey, when you look back and remember that, those things, and also the people that you loved that you lost and wish they were there with you – that sort of thing.’
The Material Girl said she ‘felt compelled to come to the rescue of the LGBTQ community back in the very beginning because they were always there for’ her.
In giving Madonna the award, GLAAD commended her for using her powerful platform to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS amid a critical time in the 1980s and 1990s; among those included performing in benefit shows and putting a Facts about AIDS sheet in each copy of her top-selling 1989 record Like A Prayer.
Emotional: The pop icon said she ‘had to try and stop crying a few times’ on the evening
Dedicated: The Oh Father singer said she has three decades experience ‘fighting for change and being in the trenches’ with the LGBTQ community
Asked about her speech, the singer stressed the lesson to glean from it was to ‘never give up … no matter what.’
The Express Yourself songstress was introduced by Rosie O’Donnell in accepting the honors at the GLAAD Media Awards New York held at New York Hilton.
The Beautiful Stranger singer, addressing the crowd at the award show, paid homage to her mentor Christopher Flynn, who she said was the first gay man she ever met.
Rare honor: The Cherish singer was the second-ever winner of the Advocate for Change Award, as former President Bill Clinton was honored in 2013
In a league of their own: The Express Yourself songstress was introduced by Rosie O’Donnell in accepting the honors at the GLAAD Media Awards New York held at New York Hilton
‘He was my ballet teacher in high school and he was the first person that believed in me,’ the pop icon said. ‘That made me feel special as a dancer, as an artist and as a human being.
She continued, ‘I know this sounds trivial and superficial but he was the first man to tell me that I was beautiful. He took me to my first gay club in downtown Detroit. I told my dad I was having a sleepover at a girlfriend’s house – that got me grounded for the rest of the summer.’
She said that she ‘decided to take up the bullhorn and really fight back’ following the deaths of Martin Burgoyne, who she described as ‘my best friend and roommate;’ and her friend, the late artist Keith Haring.