Madonna: People Are Anti-Gay Because They Don’t Know Gay People

At Saturday night’s GLAAD Awards, Madonna arrived dressed as a Boy Scout, telling the cheering audience that she always wanted to join the organization but they wouldn’t let her. After making it clear she believes the Boy Scouts of America should “change their stupid policy,” she went on to defend standing up against anti-LGBT views, even while in Russia, because people will become more comfortable with the LGBT community if they become more familiar with it:

MADONNA: Things like bigotry, homophobia, hate crimes, bullying, and any form of discrimination always seems to be a manifestation of fear of the unknown. Most people are not comfortable with things or people that they perceive as different from themselves. And I would wager that if we just took the time to get to know one another, did our own investigation, looked beneath the surface of things… that we would find that we’re not so different after all.

We are also under the illusion that with the wonder of technologies at our fingertips that the world is coming closer together, that people are becoming more familiar with one another, that the distance between one human and another is being diminished. Now, on one that is true, but on the other hand, it is not true. I believe the opposite is taking place, because a picture doesn’t tell a thousand stories — a picture tells a version of a thousand stories, and this supposed intimacy that we think we are gaining is false. It is unearned, it is a trick.

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She went on to explain that all religions teach, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and so religion should not be used to justify hate or discrimination. Madonna is currently fighting a lawsuit from Russian officials for speaking out for LGBT equality at her concert there.

After speaking, Madonna presented an award to Anderson Cooper.