Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Our Great Dyke Hope: Melissa Etheridge Isn't Just a Rock Star. She's Our Hero-And She Won Us over Just by Being Herself

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Our Great Dyke Hope: Melissa Etheridge Isn't Just a Rock Star. She's Our Hero-And She Won Us over Just by Being Herself

Article excerpt

When Melissa Etheridge first appeared on the cover of The Advocate more than a year after coming out at President Clinton's first inaugural celebration, she was 33 years old. She'd already released four platinum albums, won a Grammy, gone on tour with the Eagles, and performed at Woodstock '94.

In fairness to Melissa, she wasn't thrilled with the "Great Dyke Hope" tag. For this gracious young woman from Kansas, the label must have felt a bit rude. Even as recently as 1994, "dyke" was a rougher word than it is now. But for us it was the highest of rock-and-roll compliments. And it still rings true.

Fast-forward 13 years and eight more Advocate covers. There's still no one quite like Etheridge, because what makes her a superstar isn't just that throaty swagger in her voice. It's the way she makes her life as a gay musician seem, well, easy.

Case in point: In her acceptance speech for best original vocal at the 79th Academy Awards last month, Etheridge said without hesitation, "I have to thank my incredible wife, Tammy, and our four children ..." And just like that, she dismissed the 40 states that invalidate same-sex unions and swept aside all the Focus on the Family babble against gay parenting--without breaking a sweat. …

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