No, Lady Gaga Was Not Born a Man

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In 2008, rumors surfaced on the internet that Lady Gaga was born either as a man or as a hermaphrodite (someone who has both male and female genitals). These rumors have been repeatedly debunked.

Lady Gaga the Pop Star

Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, rose to prominence in late 2008 when her debut single "Just Dance" hit #1 on the pop singles chart in the U.S. The song kicked off a string of eleven consecutive top 10 pop hit singles for Gaga, ultimately making her one of the all-time top five bestselling digital singles artists in the U.S.

A significant element of Lady Gaga's stardom has been tied to her embrace of alternative sexualities and lifestyles. She has been a spokesperson for LGBTQ communities and challenged traditional views of gender and pop music.

Where Did the Rumors Start?

The rumors about Lady Gaga's sex appear to have started with a 2008 blog post on the tabloid website Starr Trash. The post—titled "Lady Gage Admits True Sex"—included a statement purportedly written by Gaga herself in which she discussed having both male and female genitals. Closer examination of the blog, however, reveals that its content is not meant to be taken seriously. Other posts feature titles such as "Angelina Jolie Steals Asian Child," and "Halle Berry's Pimp Throws Her Out."

The rumors surfaced again in 2009 thanks to a video clip from a live performance. In the video, Lady Gaga is seen wearing a red dress and leaning against a blue motorcycle. Some insisted that her visible underwear showed the presence of a small, vestigial penis. The resolution of the video is not very high, though, and there's no reason to believe the claims are true.

Lady Gaga's Public Statements

The first response to the rumors from Lady Gaga's camp came in August 2009. "This is completely ridiculous," the pop star's manager said. During an interview on an Australian radio station, Lady Gaga said, "It’s too low-brow for me to even discuss."

In a January 2010 interview, Barbara Walters brought the rumors into the mainstream. She asked if they were true and Lady Gaga responded with a succinct "No."

Walters followed up by asking, "Do you mind the rumor?"

"No," Lady Gaga said. "No, not really. At first, it was very strange and everyone sorta said, ‘That’s really quite a story!’ But in a sense, I portray myself in a very androgynous way, and I love androgyny."

Androgyny in Lady Gaga's Work

Androgyny—the combination of male and female characteristics—is an ongoing theme in Lady Gaga's work. It should not be confused with the condition of being intersex (having both male and female genitals). Such performers as David Bowie, Grace Jones, and Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics are also known for their explorations of androgyny.

One of Lady Gaga's most overt explorations of androgyny occurs in her music video for the song "You and I," which was released in the fall of 2011. In the video, she appears as a male alter ego named Jo Calderone.

The character of Jo Calderone first appeared in August 2010, when Lady Gaga posed in men's clothing for a fashion shoot. Lady Gaga later performed live as Jo Calderone at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.

The music video for the hit single "Alejandro" also includes many androgynous elements. The soldiers who dance in the video, for example, wear fishnet stockings and high heels.