Karman Kregloe: My picks fall into three categories. Comics: Bridget McManus, Fortune Feimster, Lily Tomlin. Filmmakers: Dee Rees and Nekisa Cooper (Pariah), Morgan Stiff and Tina Mabry (Mississippi Damned), Anna Margarita Albelo (Hooters, A Lez in Wonderland) and musicians Beth Ditto, Linda Perry and Joan Jett. I guess I’m a sucker for people who create their own material!
Photo by Faye Sadou
Lesley Goldberg: I’m voting for Ellen DeGeneres. Why? Every single day, even in repeats, she does more for LGBT visibility by entering millions of homes and providing a simple, effortless message that Harvey Milk encouraged all of us to do: Come out. “If they know us, they can’t vote against us.”
Others on my list include personal favorites Brandi Carlile, Jane Lynch, Erin Foley, Jasika Nicole, Amber Heard (just because I adore the way in which she came out), Portia DeGeneres, Rachel Maddow, Trish Bendix (did you guys catch her six degrees of lesbian goodness during the Oscars? Holy crap!) and the AfterEllen.com staff.
Trish Bendix: I find this voting to be way more difficult than the Hot 100. It seems that in 2011, we have so many deserving out women. Ten years ago, it would have been a much different list.
Dorothy Snarker: My No. 1 vote is for Ellen DeGeneres. No one blazed as public and as high profile a trail for lesbians in entertainment than our girl Ellen. Hell, AfterEllen.com wouldn’t possibly exist, or at least have as snazzy a name, without Ellen. She was the “Yep, I’m gay” heard around the world. And we’re lucky that since her so many great, strong, wonderful lesbian and bisexual advocates have emerged, including Rachel Maddow, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Cynthia Nixon, Portia de Rossi, Ani DiFranco, Lady Gaga, Margaret Cho and Chely Wright.
Courtney Gillette: Rachel Maddow (Whip smart, awesome style, and biting wit. And she’s on a major cable news network every night. Politics never looked so good, or so queer.); JD Samson (I love her mustache, and her music, and her big heart.); Toshi Reagon (Toshi’s music and performances have always charmed me, but then when she did a soulful folk cover of Le Tigre’s “Keep On Living” at the Kathleen Hanna tribute show in Brooklyn last year, she completely stole my heart. Here’s an out musician with so much talent, it’s stunning.).
Emma Donoghue (I really dug her 2010 novel Room) which not only made nearly every top-book list of last year, but included in her bio that she lives in London, Ontario with her partner and their two children. Score one for the awesome literary lesbians.); Ellen DeGeneres (I rarely watch daytime TV, but when I get to, I’ll flip on The Ellen Show, and it’s like life beyond my wildest dreams. Here’s a true blue lesbian, out and proud and wearing sneakers, beloved by a whole studio audience of housewives and suburbanites. Beautiful. Just beautiful.); Constance McMillen (Hey, I thought I was pretty badass in high school, but Constance is the real deal.); Beth Ditto (Gorgeous, funny-as-all-hell, fat-positive southern girl superstar by way of Portland, OR. Huge in England. Voice to match. You go, girl.); Molly Landreth (The photographer behind Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America, Landreth not only is talented in her craft but is doing seriously important work, documenting queer subculture and lives.); Eileen Myles (I am so glad to be alive in the time of Eileen Myles. Her literary merit is off the hook, and her latest book Inferno was a slice of queer writer heaven. She’s one of my writing idols.); and Liz Feldman (She’s a friend of AfterEllen.com, so maybe I’m biased, but I think her hilarious videos, upbeat outlook, and blue blazer are some of the best contributions to lesbian pop culture in a long time.)
Did we sway you?