On Saturday, the pop icon was named the newest recipient of the Advocate for Change Award at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards ceremony in honor of a lifetime of accelerating LGBTQ acceptance in popular culture and beyond.
“Growing up I always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t fit in. It wasn’t because I didn’t shave under my armpits, I just didn’t fit in,” Madonna, 60, said in her acceptance speech, after being introduced by A League of Their Own costar Rosie O’Donnell.
In her speech, the singer also paid tribute to her first dance teacher and mentor.
“The first gay man I ever met was named Christopher Flynn,” she said. “He was my ballet teacher in high school and he was the first person that believed in me. That made me feel special as a dancer, as an artist and as a human being. I know this sounds trivial and superficial but he was the first man to tell me that I was beautiful.”
Madonna added, “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.”