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  • Slade Rivers

Leave Madonna Alone! Why Gay Men Should Respect Madonna.

DECADES of AIDS Activism

Back in the 1980's very few celebrities were there to support gay men during the AIDS crisis, but Madonna was loyal from the very beginning.

In an interview, Madonna talked about life during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

“When the AIDS epidemic first came to New York and I was living on the Lower East Side, my best friend was HIV-positive,” Madonna said. She narrated that when she went to visit her friend at St. Vincent’s Hospital, she could smell death all over the AIDS ward. Among her friends who died during that time were her best friend, Martin Burgoyne, and her dance instructor, Christopher Flynn.

Because of this experience, she spoke out about AIDS and gay rights even during the 1980s. In fact, she held an AIDS benefit concert and a major benefit dance marathon during that period.

The fact is that Madonna has been advocating for HIV/AIDS prevention for over 40 years, from the time most people thought AIDS was God’s curse to kill gays. Madonna has done more to help the AIDS epidemic than 99% of gay men, and here is the proof:

  • In March of 1989, Madonna released the album Like A Prayer which included a card insert called “The Facts About AIDS."

  • Madonna has raised over 2 million for AIDS and HIV charities.

  • One of the first charities Madonna supported was Lifebeat, an organization that raises awareness about HIV/AIDS

  • Madonna has also been involved with the global charity organization Keep a Child Alive. This organization provides lifesaving medication and support to families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India

  • Madonna even released a song about a friend she lost from AIDS (Burgoyne) called “In This Life” which was released on her 1992 album Erotica

Truth or Dare Showcased Gay Men to the Mainstream

The ‘91 documentary Truth or Dare is quite possibly the second most essential purchase for new Madonna fans after The Immaculate Collection. It gives you legendary performances (not just the masturbation-centric “Like a Virgin” but also “Oh Father,” “Vogue,” and “Keep It Together”), infamous cameos from the likes of Antonio Banderas, Kevin Costner, and then-beau Warren Beatty, plus scream-worthy interactions with her backup dancers, most of whom were gay. Truth or Dare is one of the first documentaries I ever saw that featured gay dudes hanging out and definitely the first time I saw two gay men kiss! They go to a Pride parade, gossip about each other, and get an earful from Madonna when they’re mean to another dancer. “Be nice to him. He doesn’t have the thick skin that you have,” she intones like the headmistress of homosexuality. Be sure to bring a hanky when she dedicates a show to her pal Keith Haring, who died just before the tour started.

Madonna Helped Ellen Degeneres Come Out

It may not seem like a big deal to the younger generation, but Ellen coming out was a HUGE deal. Once again, Madonna was there to support our community.

The Drag Tribute That Rocked the ‘99 VMAs

Oh yes, LONG before RuPaul's Drag Race, Madonna had the queens' backs!

Madonna Has ALWAYS had our Backs!

Madonna performs this act just about everywhere. In Russia while Putin looms like a Crisco-drenched albatross? Check. In an English interview way back in the ‘90s? Check. One of the finest: When she donned a Boy Scout uniform at the 2013 GLAAD Awards to present Anderson Cooper with the Vito Russo Award. She mocked the Boy Scouts’ homophobic membership ideals and lamented the fact that she couldn’t get in despite her well-honed ability “to scout for boys.” A few years later on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bob the Drag Queen would mimic this look and assure us he was the most “prepared” queen of season eight.


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