The 50 Most Important Queer Women in Music


14 Alix Dobkin

As one of the pioneers of “Womyn’s Music,” Alix is known best for writing songs about the lesbian experience. Her first album, Lavendar Jane Loves Women, came out in 1973 and was made fun of on national television by David Letterman and Howard Stern. It was unprecedented for women to be so unabashed about their sexuality at the time, and Dobkin made singing about dyke culture possible in the years that followed.

13 Tegan and Sara

After their single “Walking with a Ghost” was covered by The White Stripes, the sister duo received more attention outside of their small (and very lesbian) fanbase. Signed to Neil Young‘s record label, Tegan and Sara have continued to grow in popularity and critical acclaim, having been nominated for several Juno Awards and this year’s Polaris Prize. Their last album, Sainthood, hit 21 on the Billboard Charts. Both Tegan and Sara are out lesbians and aren’t shy about their views on equality and discrimination. They also work with other lesbian artists on their own albums and burgeoning careers.

12 JD Samson

When JD joined Le Tigre in 2001, the electro trio established itself as the face of queer-feminist punk rock. They built such a strong fanbase that Island Records took note, signing them for their third and final album, This Island, in 2004. JD put forth her political and personal views, both on stage and off, and continues to do so in her new band, MEN, in public appearances as a DJ, and on tracks with the likes of Junior Senior. She also contributed to Christina Aguilera‘s latest album, Bionic.

11 Wendy & Lisa

The lesbian pair, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, began working together in 1986 as part of Prince‘s band, Revolution, contributing vocals, keys and piano to his album Purple Rain. Eventually, they went it alone and released five albums before writing Emmy-winning theme songs for shows like Nurse Jackie. The pair won an ASCAP Award for “Composers of the Year” for their work on Dangerous Minds.

10 Carrie Brownstein

When Spin magazine first wrote about Sleater-Kinney in the 1990s, it was not only pivotal because they were writing about the all-female rock band, they also outed guitarist Carrie Brownstein for having dated her band mate Corrin Tucker. Carrie’s guitar playing has always been her focus, and it helped Sleater-Kinney enjoy commercial success in an otherwise not-for-profit-but-not-for-lack-of-trying riot grrl scene. Four of the band’s albums peaking in the Billboard’s Hot 200. The band went on hiatus in 2006, but today, Carrie is part of several new projects and has just announced the formation of her new band, Wild Flag, with Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss.

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