Holly Near Is Still Singing After All These Years
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
May 13 2013 5:00 AM ET
Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert, Holly Near, and Pete Seeger
Do you think people are getting more understanding of sexual fluidity? I mean in the 1990s. I felt like you — and other lesbians that fell in love with a man. like JoAnn Loulan — were crucified for loving a man.
I don't blame anyone for their confusion. I had plenty of my own. Women came out to my songs, they looked to me for leadership, and in the beginning you could count on one hand the number of nationally known out lesbian artists. Literally, one hand — and still have your thumb free! So if they thought one of those leaders was going to betray them, they got scared. But over time, they saw I had not betrayed. I still stood on the front lines. I still sang lesbian songs. I still advocated for lesbian rights and cultural support. I think we are fine now. Trust takes time.
Your songs are still often gender-neutral, though. Is that a commitment to LGBT listeners?
Yes. It gives room for all the different ways in which we love. If I use a gender, I tend to use she.