What will 2010 be synonymous with in the future? What song will stick with people as the soundtrack to their year? Several women will be on that playlist, and many of them have been on the lesbian radar, for one reason or another.
The best part of this year was the barriers broken in every genre. We now have an out lesbian Christian singer, an out lesbian country singer, and we began to pay more attention to who in hip-hop actually reps for the gay women.
We also saw the resurgence of Lilith Fair, and the sad decline in ticket sales causing several dates to be cancelled. But it didn’t stop the participation of so many out women who signed on for select shows, including Brandi Carlile, Tegan and Sara, Missy Higgins, The Gossip and Indigo Girls, among others.
Lilith Fair Boston by Lindsey Byrnes
We were able to add more of those role models and talented artists to our list of out musicians this year, with a handful of notable and established artists coming forward to speak on their sexuality.
At the very end of 2009 (Dec. 27, to be exact), Alison Goldfrapp was outed by The Guardian when they published a piece on late-in-life lesbians, featuring her alongside her girlfriend Lisa Gunning. Although she didn’t necessarily consider herself a lesbian, the electro-pop singer told AfterEllen.com she didn’t mind the label, just was surprised to see herself in a paper “out of the context of her music.” Goldfrapp’s 2010 album, Head First, has been nominated for Best Electronic/Dance Album in the Grammys this year.
Singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton came out as bisexual this year while performing at a Pride celebration in Nashville. The performer, best known for her singles “A Thousand Miles” and “Ordinary Day” while signed to major label A&M Records, spoke very simply about her sexuality saying, “I’ve never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman.”
Chely Wright had one of the most highly-publicized coming outs this year. Weeks before she announced she was a lesbian, the Hollywood hype machine began producing the rumor that a celebrity would be coming out on May 5. But the surprise came a few days early, and on May 3, the internet found out it was the country singer, who would be coming out and simultaneously releasing an album, Lifted From the Ground, and memoir, Like Me.
Unfortunately, because of all the PR her coming out received before the public even know who it was, Chely received a lot of negative commentary on her coming out. She wasn’t as “famous” as some had hoped for, and many critics thought she had planned it all out simply to profit off of her gayness with sales from her books and CDs. Well, she might not be as big of a celebrity as some people had hoped, and she might have made more money this year than the last few years of her career, but it doesn’t make her coming out any less exciting and pivotal for her and the gay community.
Similarly, Christian singer Jennifer Knapp went public with the fact that she is a lesbian around the time she released her new album, Letting Go, challenging just as many of her fans as Chely had to consider why they love and support the musicians they do. Does sexuality matter? In the Christian and Country genres, it still factors highly for many devotees, but they’ve likely changed a few hearts and minds during their own self-discoveries.