Lady Gaga has used her wildly popular voice to make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth—and now, she’s taken us to school.
The pop superstar, her mom Cynthia Germanotta and talk show maven Oprah Winfrey gathered in the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in late February to announce the launch of Gaga’s new Born This Way Foundation.
Gaga’s outspoken protest against bullying among young people, and LGBT teens in particular, might cause some to think that the foundation is purely an anti-bullying organization—but that would be too limiting to the pop queen’s vision. “I want to help, I want to be brave, I want there to be more tolerance in the universe,” the singer said in an on-stage interview with Oprah, delineating her reasons for starting the youth empowerment foundation. “I want there to be more acceptance. What I realize more than anything was that I never wanted this dialogue to end. This is about transformative change in culture over a period of time,” she said.
The foundation is supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment and The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard to explore the best ways to reach youth and create a new culture of kindness, bravery, acceptance and empowerment. BTWF, a non-profit charitable organization, will address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy.
“When I say it takes very little to change the world,” Gaga continued, “I really mean that. If each one of us just transformed one small bit of ourselves to be a bit kinder, more loving, more tolerant…I believe it will be quite easy to change the world. The only problem is, there’s so damn many of us.”