Phil Reese

Ten biggest lesbian and bisexual pop icons!

Filed By Phil Reese | October 27, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Amy Ray, Ani DiFranco, Beth Ditto, Indigo Girls, John Mellencamp, KD Lang, Lady Gaga, Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Melissa Etheridge, Nelly Furtado, Sophie B Hawkins, The Gossip, Tracy Chapman

Joan Jett, Le Tigre, Tegan & Sara, Leisha Hailey of the Murmurs. These are just a few of the outstanding women that didn't make this list of top living lesbian and bisexual women pop-stars. That should just tell you the sheer star power on this list right there (told you the women were going to kick the mens' butts!). These women represent some of the greatest lyrics ever delivered and certified gold and platinum, and the new leading voices of country, jazz, folk, soul, gospel, punk and rock. Own just a sampling of the albums from each of the women on this list, and your music collection will not only be diverse in genre, but will be ready for any occasion and appeal to any taste. These women have it all!

10. Me'Shell NdegeOcello With "If That's Your Boyfriend, He Wasn't Last Night," Me'Shell perked up the attention of women everywhere, and when she revealed that she was a lesbian, I'm sure she piqued the attention of a whole lot more! Me'Shell is a stunning and sexy performer who can flow with the best of them, and sing with a soulful sound that would make God herself have to pick up her jaw. Me'Shell is also a great advocate for Equality--and surely doing what she can to help with the battles in Kalamazoo, Washington and Maine. When I was in High School, I VHS taped the video for "Leviticus Faggot" off MTV and would play it for myself when my parents would go to bed, longing for the strength to come out. Well here I am now, and here is Me'Shell, one of my personal heroes!

BONUS: Her hit duet Van Morrison cover with John Mellencamp, "Wild Night"

9. Sophie B Hawkins "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" is still one of the sexiest singles of all time. Who doesn't start gyrating their hips and rubbing up and down their thighs as they serenade their iPods with this Billboard smash hit? I live for Sophie--and her expansive fanbase agrees with me. She's sold millions of records over the past 20 years. That's why she will always be a superstar.

8. Beth Ditto Beth Ditto is the sexiest, hottest big girl punk rocker ever. The Gossip is by far one of the world's most underrated bands--with their naked garage sound, unbridled energy, instrumental finesse and Beth Ditto's violent yet precision-controlled powerhouse vocals. Beth is the new Aretha Franklin--she can hit any note at any decibel with plenty of "stank" on it and barely break a sweat. I think Beth was what Iggy was envisioning when he dropped the phrase "Raw Power." Here she is "Standing In The Way of Control."

7. Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) You didn't think I could slip this list past you with no Indigo Girls, did you? While their folk sounds aren't exactly my cup of tea, they definitely have kept up a very impressive mainstream career all of these years, and getting mad awards and critical praise. Amy Ray is an extremely well respected song writer, producer and backing musician who has appeared on tracks and on stage with some of the greatest musicians in America and world-wide.

6. Ani DiFranco Ani Fucking DiFranco is the Joan Baez of my generation--a jazzy, folky cult of personality. She's never been shy about her bisexuality, yet lucky for her, the media seems to have a 'goldfish memory' for the glass closet when it comes to her--she's an MTV darling and a staple at coffee shops and bars around our nation, and still gets features in major music publications. After all she seems to be constantly on tour. Who hasn't attended an outdoor festival in the last ten years and not either heard an Ani DiFranco cover... or Ani DiFranco herself! She's outstanding, inspirational and enduring and--let's face it--she kicks ass! "Little Plastic Castles" changed your life. Admit it.

5. Nelly Furtado First she told the world she was Loose then she revealed she was very very bisexual--Nelly Furtado isn't just a gorgeous popstar, but a beautiful songwriter as well. Remember when you heard "I'm Like a Bird," for the first time and stopped whatever you were doing to listen? You knew that girl was special. And the world agrees. She's one of the best selling female solo artists of this decade. I can't get dressed in the morning without "Promiscuous." I can't complete a workout without the help of one or two "Maneater" remixes, and when I was a teacher I used "Say It Right" to help teach the kids about rhyme. Her talent spans many genres--and that's why she's a true pop star!

4. KD Lang The look of a trucker, the voice of an angel, KD Lang is like Country's Hope Diamond. Despite her quirks and strange looks, she was embraced early in her career by Country Music's biggest superstars, and even more-so by fans. Its not hard to hit the ground running with an emphatic endorsement by Roy Orbison at the start of your career! Then in the 90s she came out, and took a turn to the poppy, and experienced her greatest career success ever. She's quite possibly one of my favorite women ever--her voice completely captivates me every time. "Summerfling" can force me to stop whatever I'm doing and just listen to her beautiful voice and lovely lyrics. She's a goddess--a goddess in a tuxedo!

(...like I could resist using her performance of "I Will Survive)

BONUS: The gorgeous "Summerfling" live with a slideshow.

3. Lady Gaga Lady Gaga has a style all her own. She's very unlike most of the other women on this list--mostly because her style comes more from gay men and drag queens than it does from the lesbian icons she shares the top spots with. But Gaga is an icon all her own, and that's why she's appearing where she is on this list. Her "Bless God, and Bless the Gays" unapologetic pride is awesome! Her speech at the National Equality March was surprisingly engaging, and her shout-out from the President of the United States the night before at the National HRC Dinner was my favorite moment of the night.

2. Tracy Chapman You know, everyone knows Tracy for "Fast Car," and yeah, that's why she's on this list--but Tracy's talents are extremely broad. She's performed with every important name in Rock and Roll and Blues. She's released album after album and maintained a most enviable career--and she's floored all of us with her brilliant sound. "Gimme One Reason" beats "Fast Car" any day in my book.

(ugh... just amazing!)

1. Melissa Etheridge Is anyone surprised Miss Etheridge is Number One? With a career spanning decades, she became a hero to gays and lesbians everywhere when she came out at the height of her career, far before it was ever vogue to; and became a hero to human beings all over the globe as she bravely battled breast cancer, and still delivered chart topping singles, and a powerful 'bald is beautiful' Grammys moment. Its "Breathe," that lands her here on this list as the Queen of all lesbian rockers of all time!

Special Bonus: That Grammy performance that blew the world away:


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I love that Grammy performance by Etheridge! Thanks for posting it.

And I loooove me some Ani DiFranco. I also somehow didn't know Nelly Furtado was bi. Very cool!

http://www.afterellen.com/column/2006/7/21.html

Here's an analysis of her 'coming out.' Oh well, she'll do for this list.

How incredibly empowering to watch Melissa once again: courage, strength, beauty.

I didn't know about Me'Shell. Thanks Phil!

Oh, I know, she's amazing! Did you listen to/watch Leviticus Faggot?

As a rabid Joan Jett fan for so long I used to go see her in the NYC clubs before she ever had a hit record, I should probably point out that even after all these years, Joan still hasn't come out publicly. Her sexuality is probably the single worst-kept secret in modern music, but she's never chosen to make it official and she and her people discourage public speculation on it.

Oh, what a difference it would have meant to me as a struggling teenager. I loved Joan Jett beyond any reason. She was my first tape for my first Walkman in 1982. She was a comfort to me as I was laughed at and called a "lizzie" by girls who actually experimenting, but it would have meant so much to have known for sure back then.