TERF Tales

Madonna’s Celebration Tour is already triggering TERFs

After harrowing health complications nearly ended the tour before it began, Madonna officially kicked off her long-awaited Celebration Tour on Saturday. And surprise, surprise—it’s queer as hell. All the same, some so-called fans were apparently surprised at Madonna’s show of support for trans rights, and their subsequent online fits were met with open ridicule.

Madonna’s Celebration tour is her worldwide, greatest hits jaunt honoring her forty-year career as the reigning Queen of Pop. It kicked off on Saturday in London, and opening night attendees were treated to a surprise voguing performance from Madonna’s 11-year-old daughter.

But one moment that should have received far less attention. Despite the fact that Madonna has been a vocal champion of LGBTQ+ rights throughout her career, that nonbinary star Bob the Drag Queen is supporting the tour, and that Madonna has alluded to her own queerness multiple times—a Progress Pride flag cape was a bridge too far in some decrepit corners of the internet.

While performing the song “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”—an homage to her role as Eva Perón in the 1996 musical film Evita—Madonna wore a Progress Pride flag draped around her shoulders. By her side, two shirtless back-up dancers had the words “No Fear” written on their backs.

The mere appearance of the Progress Pride flag, which includes stripes representing queer people of color and trans people, brought the gender critical crowd out of their swamp. One user accused Madonna of following the “latest trend” while a TERF account described the cape as “the homophobic flag used by trans activists represents the erasure of same sex attraction, destruction of women’s rights, & the indoctrination & mutilation of children.”

Although hoping for outrage, these comments had the opposite effect.

The Progress Pride flag moment was a small one in the course of her entire performance. Madonna also collaborated with the AIDS Memorial to create a dedication to those lost to AIDS.

And Madonna supported LGBTQ+ rights even when doing so was in no way popular.

Madonna has always faced controversy head-on—even dumb, made-up controversy. It’s safe to say, the Queen of Pop will be taking that Progress Pride flag all across the globe with her tour.

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