It was a celebratory night for Lady Gaga and her loyal fans on Friday, June 28, as she took the the stage at the Gay Pride Parade's Kick Off Rally in New York City, giving a moving speech and powerful performance of the National Anthem, waving a pride flag.
In light of the groundbreaking DOMA ruling on Wednesday, June 27, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared The Defense of Marriage Act "unconstitutional" and gave legally married same-sex couples the same federal rights as heterosexual couples, the 27-year-old singer praised the LGBT community for all their hard work.
"I would like to thank everyone from the Supreme Court to every legislator and political leader that has ever stood with us," she said. "I am so fortunate to have been welcomed by all of you into the LGBT community and to this family … Our evolution as LGBT citizens always continues to change and we see that the further we are able to reveal and share our lives, the further we move into the hearts and minds of other Americans."
In her first public appearance and performance since canceling her tour to undergo hip surgery in February, the "Born This Way" singer, wearing a black strapless bodysuit, explained what the LGBT community has meant to her over the years.
"When I was in high school and grade school and younger, I was considered to be an outcast and I just couldn’t find my place," she said. "Where did I fit in? And I look back on that time and I remember feeling that I was cut from a different mold."
She continued, "There was a particular crowd who did accept me. There was a particular crowd who made room for me at their table, who held me up when I felt I couldn’t, who loved me for exactly who I was. It was you. And to stand here equal to you tonight."
The LGBT activist shared that it was through her LGBT friends that she found more than acceptance -- she found a relationship with God.
"I’ve always had since then this strange relationship with God. I didn’t know if God was real or what God meant," she said. "I certainly didn’t know what he meant to America and it was because I felt so damaged, so destroyed, so degraded by those kids at school, by my own psychological struggles. My body. The men in the business who only wanted me for sex, money, as I tried to keep a famous face and carry on."
"But then it was you that saved me. You saved me, my friends in the LGBT community time and time again. And I saw God for the first real time in all of you," she added. "You were sent to me like angels to protect me and to save me. It was you who understood my need to hide behind the wigs, the glasses, the glamour, the clothing … I get to see God every day when I’m with you."
Before launching into a powerful a cappella performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" as she waved the pride flag, the New York native said the LGBT community will always be a part of who she is.
"We’re connected," she shared. "It’s like a vein. And I’m yours if you’ll have me. You’ll always be mine … Now I get to say that I knew you when. Now I get to say I knew you when you suffered, when you felt unequal, when you felt there was nothing to look forward to. I knew you then and I knew you when but I really know you now."
Watch the video of her performance now!
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Lady Gaga Gives Touching Speech, Performs at the Gay Pride Parade's Kick Off Rally