Recently, Lady Gaga visited the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youths in Harlem, New York. Her visit was documented by NBC’s Today Show, and followed her entire visit, from unloading her SUV with the gifts she brought the kids through her live and emotional acoustic performance at the center. The visit was a collaboration between Gaga’s foundation, The Born This Way Foundation, the Ali Forney Center, and the NBC morning show. It was meant to spread awareness of the reality of homelessness within the LGBT community, particularly in youths who are no longer welcome at home after coming out to their families.
When Gaga casually entered the center and greeted the teens there, there was a brief moment of shock and soon after, emotions were running high as the they started screaming out in excitement. Even most of the staff members were surprised to see the iconic singer show up at their center. Many of the teens opened up to the pop star and told her that in their toughest moments, her music was the only thing that helped them get through the times where they felt like they had no one to support them in their lives.
In 2014, Lady Gaga revealed that she was a victim of sexual abuse when she was only 19 years old. She released the song “‘Til It Happens To You” that addressed the experience. She stated in the interview with the today show: “My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others.” In the same interview while at the LGBT Center, Gaga revealed that she struggles with PTSD and that she had never told anyone before. She wanted to share this detail of her life so that people can begin to move away from the stigma often associated with mental illnesses. She said that she wants people to know that “there is hope and a chance for recovery.”
Gaga lead a meditation circle to show the teens one of the activities that she herself implements in her life in order to help cope with her mental illness. She said: “meditation helps me to calm down. I don’t have the same kinds of issues that you have, but I have a mental illness and I struggle with that mental illness every day so I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed.” It is truly amazing that a public figure who currently has garnered over 64 million followers on Twitter has managed to set aside her fame to relate to these struggling teenagers on a personal level.
Her openness about her own struggles with a mental illness opens many doors for others who may have felt uncomfortable sharing their own personal battles. Hopefully her confession will inspire many others to seek out the help that they need and that is available.
Gaga has also penned an emotional open letter entitled “Head Stuck In A Cycle I Look Off And I Stare,” which can be accessed on the Born This Way Foundation website.