Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story in the Causes section.
Lady Gaga is a world-famous performance artist and singer. She is best known for her chart-topping singles and outrageous costumes. She has had three consecutive best-selling albums and one of the highest-grossing tours.
Born Stefani Germanotta on March 28, 1986, she is the first of two daughters born to working class parents in Yonkers, New York.
She describes her younger self as an "artsy, musical-theatre, nerdy girl who got good grades, who learned the tricks of self-reinvention, and [had] a look that veered between a bit too sexy and a bit strange."
Raised Roman Catholic, she graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart School before attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She left the school after two years to work on her musical career.
In 2005, she was signed by Def Jam Recording and worked as a songwriter for Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls.
Lady Gaga’s persona is derived from her unique, androgynous, vintage-themed fashion sense and constructing her own costumes.
In 2008, Gaga produced her first album, "The Fame." The album has two international hits, "Just Dance" and "Poker Face."
The Fame Ball Tour premiered Lady Gaga’s innovative use of performance art and glam rock to form a multimedia party.
Her second album, "The Fame Monster," received critical acclaim.
The hit song "Bad Romance" earned Lady Gaga two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video. Her third album, "Born This Way," topped the charts within days of its release.
She has sold 15 million albums and 51 million singles.
Lady Gaga has won five Grammy Awards and holds two Guinness World Records. She was named 2010 Artist of the Year and the top-selling artist of 2010 by Billboard.
In 2010, Time magazine named her Most Influential Artist, and in 2011, Forbes listed her among its World’s Most Powerful.
Openly bisexual, Lady Gaga is an outspoken LGBT equality advocate.
She spoke at the 2009 National Equality March in Washington, D.C., calling it "the single most important event" of her career.
She was a leading activist for the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."
Through her music, concerts and demonstrations, she continues to fight for LGBT rights.
For more information about LGBT History Month, click HERE.