Pop legend and unapologetic LGBTQ+ advocate Lady Gaga has come out swinging for trans rights with a rendition of her massive queer anthem “Born This Way”.
At the opening of her Lady Gaga Enigma + Jazz & Piano concert residency on Thursday (31 August), the iconic singer-songwriter dedicated a beautiful piano rendition of “Born this Way” to trans rights in America.
Kicking off the 2023 leg of her Las Vegas residency, Gaga made a few surprise performance choices, as well as offering a touching tribute to transgender people in the United States.
As she launched into arguably her best-known LGBTQ+ anthem, the pop superstar said: “I’ve got something to say about trans rights in this country,” and was met with a roaring applause.
Gaga then began singing the poignant lyrics: “There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are, ’cause He made you perfect babe.
“I’m beautiful in my way / God makes no mistakes.”
Speaking on trans rights in America, Gaga – real name Stephanie Germanotta – said during the performance of her 2011 smash hit: “You know sometimes you hear people say things like ‘I don’t always know what to say’ – just listen. Don’t say nothing.
“Listen. Listen to stories of real people’s lives.”
Gaga’s jazz concert residency has been ongoing for five years and was previously held at the Park Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year, however, Lady Gaga’s fans are gathering to see her perform hits from the Great American Songbook, as well as stripped-back, jazz and piano-focused renditions of her own music, at the Park Theatre at Park MGM.
Though some years have passed since “Born This Way” first graced the charts, its lyrics clearly still resonate. Gaga’s performance – and tribute to transgender rights – comes as those rights are continually and increasingly threatened and stripped away across the United States.
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), over 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in the US in 2023 so far. These include 225 bills aiming to target and strip the rights of trans people, with bans on gender-affirming healthcare, LGBTQ-inclusive education, toilet access and sports participation for trans youth.
Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has also led Canada to issue a travel advisory for LGBTQ+ people visiting the US, while HRC warned those visiting Florida about its anti-LGBTQ+ laws back in May.
This is not the first time Lady Gaga has spoken up about LGBTQ+ rights. Last year, she told the Republican Party, “don’t mess with gay marriage” in a speech during another performance of “Born this Way” at the Washington show for her Chromatica Ball.
During Thursday’s show, Lady Gaga stressed the importance of speaking up during times like this, telling the crowd: “You got something to say, you gotta speak up, right?”
The singer also performed a jazz version of her 2020 hit “Stupid Love” during the show. This performance marks the first of many in store for Gaga’s Jazz & Piano residency, which will run in Sin City throughout the month.