In 2012, Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, created the Born This Way Foundation. The foundation’s mission is as follows:
“Born This Way Foundation is committed to supporting the wellness of yong people and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world. We achieve this by shining a light on real people, quality research, and authentic partnerships.”
In a recent interview with Billboard, Gaga opened up about her own depression as well as saving troubled teens.
Gaga created Born This Way because she wanted to remind her fans that they are not alone. The pop princess said, “This foundation was born from the years I spent watching my fans grow up. Many of them were really young: 11-to 17-year-olds in very tumultuous times. They would tell me their stories — and many of them were very dark. As I began to care for them and to see myself in them, I felt I had to do something that would remind kids they’re not alone. When they feel isolated, that’s when it leads to suicide.”
A few years ago, a gay fan of Gaga committed suicide. Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, was bullied because of his sexuality. Rodemeyer became an online activist against harassment, but took his own life on Sept. 18, 2011, tweeting at Gaga, “Bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done,” according to Billboard.
In the Billboard interview, Gaga was asked if Rodemeyer’s death was a catalyst for the creation of Born This Way. She responded, saying that his suicide as well as all of the other suicides of young teens that year were a catalyst. Gaga wanted to, “… make [their deaths] a lesson instead of a casualty of our negligence.”
According to Gaga, the problem with most kids is having anxiety and depression linked together. She goes on to say that our phones and the Internet are a key factor to kids feeling isolated:
“There is something in the way that we are now, with our cell phones and people are not looking at each other and not being in the moment with each other, that kids feel isolated. They read all of this extremely hateful language on the Internet.”
Gaga continues on, saying that kids today feel like robots when what they really want is to feel human. These kids are feeling sad, but they don’t understand why. Born This Way is doing research to find the scientific reasoning behind why you feel sad when you look at your phone all day.
Gaga wants these troubled kids to know that they are not alone in their struggle with depression and anxiety. Gaga has also suffered from both of them and continues to everyday. She wants troubled kids to know:
“We were born that way. This modern thing, where everyone is feeling shallow and less connected? That’s not human.”
In addition to having her Born This Way Foundation, Gaga is trying to bring awareness to sexual assault. She did this through her recent video, “Til It Happens To You.”
The recording of this song and video were extremely tough for Gaga. She recalled that she broke down many times during the recording and that it’s hard to listen to the song and watch the video. Gaga hopes to bring attention to sexual assault and how common it is. She went on to share with Billboard her own experience:
“The hardest part for me was the self-acceptance. There’s an inability to acknowledge to yourself, ‘Not only did this happen, but I’m pretty f—ed up about it.’ And nobody knows how you feel. I didn’t tell anyone [about my sexual assault] for years — and I didn’t tell anyone for years because I didn’t tell myself for years. And my soul just burnt out until it was gone. And then you have to admit you were in pain, and that you died in a way, but you are in control to bring it back, and there are people in the world who’ll help you.”
Because of her promoting awareness of sexual assault and her many other accomplishments of this past year, Billboard has named Lady Gaga their woman of the year.