Her speech was prefixed by J Lo announcing ‘When they tell us to stay in our lane, we make a new one’, as she discussed the performer’s impact on the industry.
As Gaga was cheered onto the stage, the Born This Way hitmaker sobbed: ‘I don’t know if I’m working it right now…. In truth I tried to memorise this speech because it’s so beautiful but you give me hope, thank you Jennifer for that beautiful introduction, you’re an inspiration to so many.’
She explained her decision to wear a trouser suit instead of a gown was not a flippant one, but a statement in how she has overcome adversity.
Revealing that she had tried on several gowns ahead of the event, she explained that she ultimately settled on a trouser suit as she didn’t want to perpetuate the notion that women are ‘members of a giant beauty pageant meant to be pit against one another for the pleasure of the public.’
She revealed: ‘As a sexual assault survivor by someone in the entertainment industry, as a woman who is still not brave enough to say his name, as a woman who lives with chronic pain, as a woman who was conditioned at a very young age to listen to what men told me to do, I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants.’
Gaga continued: ‘After I was assaulted when I was 19, I changed forever. Part of me shut down for many years. I didn’t tell anyone. I avoided it myself. And felt shame even still today standing in front of you.
‘I feel shame for what happened to me. I still have days where I feel like it was my fault. After I shared what happened to me with very powerful men in this industry, nobody helped me.’
She continued: ‘No one offered my guidance or a helping hand to lead me to a place where I felt justice, they didn’t even point me in the direction of the mental health assistance I was in dire need of. Those men hid because they were afraid of losing their power. And because they hid, I began to hide. I hid for a long time until I started to feel physical pain.’
‘Then I had to go to the doctor because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. And then I was diagnosed with PTSD and Fibromyalgia, which many people don’t think is real, and I don’t even know what the f**k to say about that.
‘But I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a syndrome that is essentially a cyclone of stress induced pain. And I really wish my friend Lena Dunham was here tonight because I think she could probably articulate this much better than me. And I hope we can all agree that she’s a remarkable woman.
‘Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma—these are just a few examples of the forces that can lead to this tornado of pain. So what I would like to say in this room of powerful women and men today is let’s work together to beckon the world towards kindness.
‘I’m fortunate enough now to have the resources to help me. But for many, the resources either don’t exist or people don’t have the ability to pay for or access them. I want to see mental health become a global priority….
‘For me, this is what it means to be a woman in Hollywood. It means, I have a platform. I have a chance to make a change. I pray we listen and believe and pay closer attention to those around us to those in need….Be a helping hand. Be a force for change.’
The singer and actress, who is winning rave reviews for her performance in A Star Is Born, was supported by her fiancé Christian Carino, 49, at the event.
The couple went public with their romance in February last year and have been inseparable ever since.
Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, recently revealed to Elle magazine that ‘success tests relationships,’ as well as families and ‘your dynamic with your friends.
The actress also explained in her November cover story that ‘there is a price to stardom,’ but ‘I can’t make music or act without using the pain that I have in my heart.’