Madonna has long been both an icon and an advocate for the LGBTQ community, and over the weekend she was recognized at the GLAAD Media Awards with the Advocate for Change Award.

The award is in recognition of Madonna’s work in “accelerating LGBTI acceptance in pop culture and beyond.” Madonna’s HIV and AIDs awareness work during the AIDS crisis was also recognized. Madonna fans of a certain age will remember that her Like A Prayer album included a “Facts About AIDS” leaflet.

The pop icon has also regularly performed at numerous AIDS benefit concerts and has been outspoken about her opposition to anti-LGBTI policies in Russia and the United States.

After being introduced by Rosie O’ Donnell, Madonna paid tribute to the various gay men in her life, such as her high school ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn.

Of Flynn, Madonna said “he was the first person that believed in me. That made me feel special as a dancer, as an artists, and as a human being.”

Flynn, apparently, even took her to her “first gay club in downtown Detroit.”

Madonna also talked about friends she had lost to AIDS-related illnesses, such as Keith Haring.

“After I lost my best friend and roommate Martin Burgoyne and then Keith Haring…I decided to take up the bullhorn and really fight back,” she said.

Watch Madonna’s speech below:

Any longtime Madonna fans among our Adam4Adam blog readers? What do you think of this newest accolade? Have any memorable experiences with the Queen of Pop herself? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments section below!