Lady Gaga has hit back at claims she uses gay rights issues to sell more records.

The star, who has called for gay marriage, led Pride marches and lobbied politicians and companies over anti-gay policies, is arguably the most influential gay rights campaigner on the planet.

Speaking to the Advocate, she called criticism against her “ridiculous”.

She said: “To say that I would use the gay community to sell records is probably one of the most ridiculous statements anyone can make about me as a person.

“I would say the top thing I think about every single day of my life, other than my fans, loving the music, and my family being healthy, is social justice and equality.”

Possibly to further her point, the star responded to a question about her fans with an anecdote about meeting a young gay soldier in technology store Best Buy.

She said: “He was afraid that he would be discharged and that he would be judged or found out. [He said] that the fight in America against ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the fight for equality made him feel stronger and made him feel safe, and he gave me his service jacket.”

“And we just held each other and cried. Anyone who says that I’m not genuine is not interested in overcoming this fight. That was such a pure and wonderful moment that we shared, and I remember thinking, There’s no album sale, no number 1, that could compete with this moment. That is what the f**k it’s all about. What the f**k it’s all about is if I can write one song that could change one person’s life.”

Gaga added that while she could be “rolling around in Rolls-Royces, buying mansions for myself”, she prefers to be at rallies with her fans.