Lady Gaga's latest effort to change the world will be rolling into a city near you soon.
The socially conscious star unveiled her Born This Way Foundation in 2011 with her mom, Cynthia Germanotta, according to its website, in order to "foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated." Then, just this month, she debuted an extension of the organization: the Born Brave Bus, offering free private and group counseling (as well as games and music) for people 25 and under struggling with bullying and depression before shows on Gaga's "Born This Way Ball" tour. The bus opens three hours before every Gaga gig through March.
The singer, who's said that she was bullied as a child, describes her Born Brave Bus on her Facebook page as "a fun tailgaiting experience for Monsters to unite. "BornBrave Bus Is a place where mental health + depression are taken seriously w/ no judgment, FREE real help available to all." Fans aren't even required to have a concert ticket to board the bus.
Surprisingly, some people have a problem with the Mother Monster's message. An extremist group called the Florida Family Association hired an airplane to fly a banner that read "NOT Born this way" over the debut of the Born Brave Bus in Tacoma, Washington, on January 14. It spent $1,900 on the fly-over, and plans to do it again before Gaga's Houston show on January 31. "How would you feel if your child or grandchild went to a concert where unbeknownst to you they were convinced to embrace a homosexual or transgender lifestyle for a lifetime?," the group wrote on its website.
However, Gaga's actual purpose sounds pretty straightforward. Her musician friend Breedlove, who is an ambassador for her foundation, tells Rolling Stone that helping victims of bullying is a cause very close to her heart. "Every day we talk about it after her show. On a daily basis, she says, 'This is the most important thing in my life right now.'"
Gaga explained how she became an advocate against bullying and for youth empowerment during an event at Harvard last year where she was interviewed by Oprah. "I put out Born This Way, I put out the album, and the influx of dialogue and conversation was more massive than anything," Gaga said, according to MTV. "I was sent letters, emails, messages, Twitter ... saying, 'I want to help. I want to be brave. I want there to be more tolerance in the universe. I want there to be more acceptance.' What I realized more than anything was that I never wanted this dialogue to end."
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