OPEN YOUR HEART: Madonna knows her way around a fashion statement and she didn’t disappoint at the 24th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards on Saturday in New York, appearing onstage in a tricked-out Boy Scout’s uniform. There was a message in her guise, with Madonna urging the Boy Scouts of America to revoke their ban on gay scouts and troop leaders in a cogent and impassioned speech about equality.

Addressing the issue of gay teen suicides, she noted, “I have teenagers of my own now and the idea of them, or any young person, experiencing that kind of pain is unfathomable to me. It’s an atrocity to me. I don’t accept it.” Madonna made her hotly anticipated appearance at the Josh Wood-produced event to present the Vito Russo Award to the recently out Anderson Cooper. “I’ve had so many blessings in my life and being gay is certainly one of the greatest blessings. It’s helped open my head and open my heart in ways that I could never have predicted,” declared the CNN anchor, to an eclectic crowd that included Milla Jovovich, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Prabal Gurung, a contrite Brett Ratner, Russell Simmons, Honey Boo Boo’s mother June Shannon and Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey.”

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Cooper, who first jump-started his journalism career with a fake press pass covering the war in Somalia, told WWD he saw Madonna’s MDNA concert three times last year, including in France. Madonna purred that Cooper had “the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen,” and expressed a desire to squeeze his posterior.