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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 17, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 38
Lady Gaga takes aim at DADT
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Lady Gaga takes aim at DADT

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Lady Gaga can now add 'Gay rights advocate' to her resume as she has launched an awareness campaign to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT). In a moment that could only be described as historic, the international pop icon arrived on the September 12 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet with four openly Gay and Lesbian servicemembers. Gaga told MTV that all four had been discharged under DADT.

'I'm here for a very, very important cause tonight," Gaga told MTV. "These are all my friends, and they are with SLDN.org, which is an organization that was founded in 1993 under the reaction to the DADT policy. Their stories are very inspiring, and there's so much we can do right now.'

Although Gaga was the big winner at the MTV Video Music Awards - she took home eight Moonmen - it was her entrance with her entourage of Gay servicemembers that made waves.

According to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the heroes walking the red carpet with Gaga were former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, former U.S. Air Force Major Mike Almy, former U.S. Army Sergeant Stacy Vasquez, and Katie Miller, a top West Point cadet who resigned in August in protest of DADT.

When accepting the award for Best Female Video for Bad Romance, Gaga again drew attention to the LGBT community. She thanked the soldiers and also thanked the Gays for remaking her videos over and over again.

In addition to drawing attention to repealing DADT on live television, Gaga had her website, www.LadyGaga.com, direct supporters to www.SLDN.org to take action and call the Capitol switchboard. The message to Senators: Vote on DADT repeal the week of September 20.

Gaga's support for repeal did not stop there. She tweeted, "Gay Veterans were my VMA dates. Repeal DADT. Call Harry Reid to schedule Senate Vote."

Senator Harry Reid responded, "There is a vote on DADT next week. Anyone qualified to serve this country should be allowed to do so."

Following her win at the MTV Video Music Awards, Gaga appeared on the season premier of Ellen, reaffirming her commitment to repealing DADT, once again asking her fans to call Senator Reid and voice support for ending DADT.

Let's be honest, folks: It doesn't get any better than that for LGBT pop culture. If the Senate votes to repeal, this would mark one of the most successful crossovers in the music biz; Gaga will have gone from multi-million selling artist to political activist, using her clout to further the rights of LGBT persons. While it may be true that celebrities have weighed in on politics in the past, Gaga's actions mark the first time that someone at her level of fame stood up for the Gays.

Yahoo! News confirmed that Gaga's impact was great, saying that, "After the VMAs aired, web searches soared on everything from 'Lady Gaga Guests' to 'What does SLDN stand for?'"

"Lady Gaga's recognition of these fine patriots casts a spotlight on the unjust burden that DADT imposes upon the brave men and women who defend our country every day, and further underscores why the Senate must swiftly act to get rid of this despicable law for good," said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director of SLDN. "With expected votes on the Senate floor later this month, advocates of open service still have time to contact their senators and urge them to show support for all our veterans by voting to end DADT."

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