Entertainment & Arts

Gaga backs gay rights in Trump's America

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Media captionLady Gaga discusses LGBTQ rights in Trump's America

Pop star Lady Gaga has called for an "harmonious" and "intelligent" response to Donald Trump's presidency.

Mr Trump's cabinet includes conservatives who oppose gay rights, and Gaga said she would work to protect advances made by the LGBTQ community.

"[We] are going to do everything that we can to protect the social progress we have made over the last eight years," she told BBC News.

"Political progress cannot happen unless there is social progress.

"You can create lots of jobs, you can create new policy - but those things cannot work unless people like each other, unless people are kind to one another.

"We need to stay in a kind place and we need to bond during this time, and be as harmonious as possible, and intelligent in the way we approach this."

Image copyright Lady Gaga / Twitter
Image caption Lady Gaga (sitting next to her mother Cynthia) spent the Thanksgiving holiday at a shelter for LGBTQ youth in New York

Although Mr Trump has called himself a "real friend" of the LGBTQ community, several of his appointments have caused alarm within it.

Early in his career, vice President-elect Mike Pence opposed same-sex marriage and appeared to advocate diverting government funds away from HIV treatment in favour of gay "conversion therapy". His spokesman recently denied this, telling the New York Times that Pence neither "supported or advocated" the practice.

More recently, he signed into law a controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics argue the law discriminates against the LGBT community by allowing businesses to refuse service over religious beliefs.

Under national pressure, he later signed an amendment stating businesses could not discriminate against gay people, drawing criticism from conservatives who said they felt betrayed by the revision.

There have also been concerns over the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. The Alabama senator opposed lifting a ban on openly gay people serving in the military and voted in support of banning same-sex marriage.

Role model?

Lady Gaga has long been an advocate for the LGBTQ community, and spent part of last week's Thanksgiving holiday visiting a shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York.

The star, who campaigned stridently for Hillary Clinton during the election, also protested outside Trump Tower when the results were announced last month.

But she accepted that not everyone would see her as a suitable spokesperson on US politics.

"I've done a lot in my career," she said. "I'm sure there's many people who would say 'Lady Gaga's not role model. Did you see this performance? Did you see that performance?'

"But the truth is that when I was younger... I didn't quite understand the amount of attention that I had [or] the amount of people that would listen to me.

"I am older now and I am aware of my voice in the world and I want to be as much of a role model as I can be through my music as well as my performance.

Image copyright Interscope / Polydor
Image caption Gaga performed an acoustic concert in London on Thursday night

"With my album, Joanne, the intention was to focus on family and focus on friendship and focus on kindness and vulnerability and the release of pain, the revealing of pain.

"This album, for me, is a reminder to care about one another, care about your family and heal the wounds of intergenerational tragedy."

Gaga was speaking to the BBC ahead of a secret gig for 65 fans in London.

She performed from inside a giant "snow globe" on the roof of the Westfield Shopping Centre, playing acoustic versions of her songs Bad Romance, Joanne and Million Reasons.

"It's a very holiday-like, warm experience," she told the BBC.

"I love my London and UK fans so much, and performing my new music for them in such an intimate and spectacular location was the perfect way to celebrate the holidays."

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