Holly Near Is Still Singing After All These Years

She was the first out lesbian in People magazine, an originator of the women's music movement, and a costar in several big-name TV series (like Mod Squad) and films (such as Dogfight, alongside River Phoenix). We talk with Holly Near about her huge new album and a life of devotion to LGBT rights.



River Phoenix, Holly Near, and Lili Taylor in Dogfight

This is a great year for LGBT issues. The Supreme Court is debating same-sex marriage, we have more visibility and acceptance than ever before. What are you most proud of?
I'm proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who came out to their family, their friends, their coworkers, and little by little, the fear turned to love or even disinterest. When I came out and it was in the newspapers, my mom intentionally went down into the center of our little town and just walked around. She said, "I just wanted to be there in case anybody had anything to say." I loved that. There she was, available to chat and to listen. My mom always listened first. My parents were fascinated by people and ideas. When I was doing the Women on Wheels Tour in the early '70s, which was a mostly lesbian musicians' tour in California, we presented a mixed concert and a women-only concert. My dad and mom came to the mixed concert together, and then Dad waited in the car so Mom could go to the women-only one. He just wasn't afraid of people's joy. But if you hit a child or used racist language, he became angry. He didn't like meanness.


Watch the video below of Holly Near in concert with Jeff Langley in 1976.

Tags: Music