Lady Gaga sang a few bars of her smash hit "Born This Way" and demanded the end of discrimination against gays as she proclaimed herself a "child of diversity" at a gay pride rally last night in the ancient Circus Maximus in Rome.
The star, whose "Born This Way" album sales recently topped 1 million copies in a week, delighted tens of thousands of people at a brief concert in the vast field where ancient Romans gathered for spectacles, The Associated Press reports.
Wearing a green wig, she played 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, who was killed in 1997.
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 hourslong parade 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."
Europride organizers said they hoped the event would draw attention to discrimination gays face in many parts of the world.
"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.