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ROME — Lady Gaga sang a few bars of her smash hit “Born This Way” anda demanded the end of discrimination against gays as she proclaimed herself a “child of diversity” at a gay pride rally Saturday night in the ancient Circus Maximus.
The star, whose “Born This Way” album recently topped 1 million sales in a week, delighted tens of thousands of people at a brief concert in the vast field where the ancient Roman masses would gather for spectacles.
Wearing a green wig, she played the piano and sang a few numbers. But she devoted much of her appearance after an annual European gay pride parade to denounce intolerance and discrimination against gays and transgender people. Among the places she cited was the Middle East, Poland, Russia and Lithuania.
Lady Gaga told the crowd she is often asked “How gay are you, Lady Gaga?”
“My answer is: ‘I am a child of diversity.’”
She also proudly cited her Italian roots — saying she was really named Stefania Giovanna Angelina Germanotta.
And she told fans her costume — a sleek black top with one bare shoulder and billowing plaid skirt — were from the last collection of Gianni Versace.
Decrying intolerance of homosexuality, Lady Gaga lamented that young people who are gay are susceptible to “suicide, self-loathing, isolation.”
Many in the crowd had participated in an hours-long parade of colorful floats and brightly costumed marchers through Rome’s historic center before the rally. The events were part of the annual Europride day to encourage gay rights on the continent.
Lady Gaga praised her audience for its “great courage” which she says inspires her.
Europride organizers hope the event will draw attention to discrimination gays face in many parts of the world. The U.S. ambassador was among those who invited Lady Gaga to Rome.
“I am so honored to be here,” Lady Gaga said, recalling how, earlier in the day, she lay naked in silk sheets in her hotel room and enjoyed the din of adoring fans and packs of photographers in the street below.
Organizers said Rome was a significant choice of venue, since it is home to the Vatican, which staunchly opposes legislation that would recognize same-sex marriage or adoption by gay couples.