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Why Madonna is a gay icon

Madonna

At a time when it seems like any straight diva who can sing even marginally is a "gay icon," expect LGBT fans to turn out in droves to see the real thing: Madonna plays Philips Arena tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

"Gay icon" used to be reserved for stars with that certain mix of talent, survival instincts, triumphing against the odds, challenging norms, and actual ties to the LGBT community — in addition to Madonna, think Cher, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand and Janet Jackson.

Now the term has been diluted to include everyone from "Real Housewives" to all of the aging '80s pop stars and "American Idol" contestants who have found new career opportunities on the stages of Pride festivals around the country.