Today is Madonna’s 55th birthday and this time last year, a video was going around the internet of Nicki Minaj kissing the legend after singing her happy birthday. Of course that isn’t the first time we’ve seen Madge go a little gay. In fact, the performer has been a friend to lesbians throughout her career.
Out club owner Ingrid Casares is one of Madonna’s close friends. She’s dated both k. d. lang, and Sandra Bernhard (another former gal pal of Madonna’s) and was featured in Madge’s infamous book SEX kissing the star.
From a 2012 New York Magazine profile of Ingrid:
Before falling out with Sandra, Madonna and the out comic performed together and were rumored to be lovers themselves. (Sandra later said, “I didn’t sleep with Madonna. We were pulling everybody’s chains, creating a media frenzy. We were friends.”)
Perhaps the most famous Sapphic performance she gave was the threeway MTV Movie Awards kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
Madonna has been friends with Rosie O’Donnell for years, too. They have always been platonic.
And in the ’90s, Jenny Shimizu was a gal pal, too. (The model one said Madonna treated her like “a sex slave. I was her secret ‘booty call’ available any time of the day or night for secret sex sessions.”)
But much of Madge’s sexual ambiguity is performance it seems, as she loves to use girl-on-girlness just as much as she likes to engage in faux sexual circumstances with male dancers. It’s all a part of her challenge on American ideals of sexuality, purity and gender. As far as how she’s identified herself sexually, Madonna told The Advocate in 1991:
She also said she’d had a lot of crushes but had “only been in love with men.” One of those crushes: k.d. lang.
For the record, k.d. said nothing ever happened:
But Madonna has a theory about why lesbians have always been so attracted to her:
More than 20 years later, we have some other mascots but Madonna will always be someone who helped spark the conversation about sexuality. And for that we thank you, Material Girl.