LGBTQ+ ally and self-described “unapologetic b*tch” Madonna has upset bigots by wearing a Progress Pride flag on stage during her Celebration Tour.
During the performance at London’s O2 Arena on Sunday (15 October), the Queen of Pop wrapped the inclusive symbol around her shoulders while singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, from Evita.
Flanked by dancers, who wore camouflage trousers, cross-shaped nipple covers and the words “no fear” written on their backs, Madonna stood on stage and proudly showed off the flag, which she wore as a cape.
The moment was one of several throughout the show where the star reaffirmed her support for the LGBTQ+ community.
However, it seems the Progress Pride flag in particular has riled those in a certain corner of the internet, due to the fact it includes blue, white and pink on it – the colours of the transgender flag.
It has been described by some on social media as a “homophobic flag”, with one user suggesting the piece of fabric represents “the erasure of same-sex attraction, destruction of women’s rights and the indoctrination and mutilation of children”.
Another social media user claimed that Madonna, who was performing on the second night of the London leg of her sold out world tour marking 40 years in the music industry, wore the flag “to appear young, hip and edgy”.
A third person decided to use the opportunity to air their own ageism, writing: “Maybe the old woman just wanted to hide her babbling a** with the Progress Pride flag.”
A stream of Madonna fans leapt to her defence, rightly pointing out that the pop icon has supported the LGBTQ+ community since the beginning of her career – and she’s never cared what anyone thinks about it.
Elsewhere on the tour, Madonna has shown signs with the message “Transgender rights are human rights”, while the show’s emcee, RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob The Drag Queen, is a non-binary star.
During performances of “Holiday” and “Live to Tell” in the show, the singer pays tribute to the LGBTQ+ people who lost their lives during the Aids crisis – an illness she has been raising awareness of, and funds for, for more than 30 years.
Responding to the claim that the Progress Pride flag promotes the “indoctrination of children”, one fan wrote: “If by indoctrination you mean being respectful and making sure children know they will be loved and respected for being who they are, then yes it does support that. But I wouldn’t call that indoctrination, I’d call that being human.”
Another fan wrote: “They really (are) out here pretending that Madonna hasn’t been a vocal ally to queer people for 40 years.”
And a third said: “This is the inclusive Pride flag. F**k me, you need a hobby. So much hate inside you.”
Madonna’s Celebration tour continues tonight (17 October) at the O2 Arena.
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