Madonna lived up to her reputation for courting controversy and fighting for gay rights when she appeared on March 16 in New York City at the 24th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Awards, the first of three events to be held this year to honor the best representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the media.
Dressed in a Cub Scout uniform, the pop star told the audience, “I wanted to be a Boy Scout but they wouldn’t let me join… I can build a fire. I know how to pitch a tent… Listen, I want to do good for the community. Most importantly, I know how to scout for boys!”
Then, addressing the organization’s ban on gay scouts and scout leaders, Madonna stated, “I think I should be allowed to be allowed to be a Boy Scout. And I think they should change their stupid rules.”
The suggestion came at the beginning of an over 10-minute speech that served as both an inspirational call to arms to see gay rights won and strengthened in the United States and around the world and as an introduction for Anderson Cooper, who was awarded GLAAD’s Vito Russo Award.
“Most people are not comfortable with things or people that they perceive as different from themselves,” Madonna said. “And I would wager that if we just took the time to get to know one another, did our own investigations, looked beneath the surface of things, we would find that we are not so different after all.”
Referencing various recent incidents of unrest, from the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis to the imprisonment of activist music act Pussy Riot by the Russian government, Madonna argued for more understanding between disparate groups and for religion to no longer be used as a weapon for hate or discrimination.