Friday, June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, when NYPD officers’ attempted to raid the Stonewall Inn that led to the bar’s gay patrons resisting and fighting back, now seen as a defining moment in the LGBTQ rights movement.
Lady Gaga made a surprise appearance at Friday’s festivities hosted by Elvis Duran, iHeartMedia New York’s Z100, and 103.5 KTU, with support from GLAAD to mark the anniversary, and delivered an impassioned speech, reports Entertainment Weekly.
“I am so emotional today. This community has fought and continued to fight a war of acceptance, a war of tolerance, and of the most relentless bravery. You are the definition of courage,” Gaga told the crowd as tears filled her eyes.
“The universe brought us together in the spirit of kindness, and together we’re a powerhouse,” she continued. “I hope you celebrate every inch of who you are today. You were born this way and you are superstars!” she said, championing the safe space the current generation has created for queer youths to come out of the closet and openly express their gender identities.
“I will continue to fight every day during shows, and even when I’m not on stage, to spread a message that’s actually quite simple: Be kind,” she continued. “And that kindness belongs to you. It always has belonged to you, even when the world was not kind, it belonged to you; all the galaxies, stars, and even God, I know [they] all had your back. So today, and I hope every day: Dance, sing, rejoice, worship yourself, worship each other!”
The “Shallow” singer also called for an end to violence against transgender people.
“It is said that those who threw the first brick on that historic night were members of the trans community. And while we have made tremendous progress, we find ourselves at a time where attacks on the trans community are on an increasing rise each day. I will not tolerate this,” she said. “That distance between us and them — those who are not listening and who do not understand — that is the space for an important dialogue as a community and how we all move forward together to change the system of an extremely oppressive administration. I know that you will not stop. You will never give up… You don’t back down. You don’t shrink into shame… Be bold and embrace the Stonewall legacy. Love each other raise your voice and my gosh, vote, don’t forget to vote!”
She concluded by telling the crowd, “This is my mothership, and you are my leaders and I will follow you. I surrender to all hatred because, you know what, I will kill it with kindness. True love is when you would take a bullet for someone, and you know that I would take a bullet for you any day of the week.”
Other celebrities to take part in Pride Live included Alicia Keys, Donatella Versace, Bob the Drag Queen, Chelsea Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Don Lemon, Andy Cohen and Cyndi Lauper. Check out photos from the event below.