By Amanda Wicks

Lady Gaga had a positive message to spread with homeless LGBT youth staying at the Ali Forney Center in New York, and she used a dark moment from her past to do it.

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Gaga sat in a circle with the Center’s residents and opened up about her own trauma. After being raped at 19 it took Gaga seven years before she spoke up about the assault. “I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness,” she said. “I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told anyone that before, so here we are.” She pointed to the doctors and family members who treated her kindly, and how they helped set her on a healing road. “I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I’ve found that kindness is the best way,” she said.

The pop star’s appearance at the Center was part of Today‘s #ShareKindness campaign. “Today I shared one my deepest secrets w/ the world. Secrets keep you sick w/ shame,” she tweeted along with a heart emoji. Besides speaking with the youth, Gaga gave out gifts and listened to their own experiences. She elucidated what it meant to be kind in the opening moments of the segment. “Kindness to me is an action of love, or a showing of love to someone else, and I also believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world,” Gaga said.

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