Scroll To Top

Our Great Dyke

Our Great Dyke


Melissa Etheridge isn't just a rock star. She's our hero--and she won us over just by being herself.

When Melissa Etheridge first appeared on the cover of The Advocate more than a year after coming out at President Clinton's first inaugural celebration, she was 33 years old. She'd already released four platinum albums, won a Grammy, gone on tour with the Eagles, and performed at Woodstock '94.

In fairness to Melissa, she wasn't thrilled with the "Great Dyke Hope" tag. For this gracious young woman from Kansas, the label must have felt a bit rude. Even as recently as 1994, "dyke" was a rougher word than it is now. But for us it was the highest of rock-and-roll compliments. And it still rings true.

Fast-forward 13 years and eight more Advocate covers. There's still no one quite like Etheridge, because what makes her a superstar isn't just that throaty swagger in her voice. It's the way she makes her life as a gay musician seem, well, easy.

Case in point: In her acceptance speech for best original vocal at the 79th Academy Awards last month, Etheridge said without hesitation, "I have to thank my incredible wife, Tammy, and our four children..." And just like that, she dismissed the 40 states that invalidate same-sex unions and swept aside all the Focus on the Family babble against gay parenting--without breaking a sweat.

Of course, we saw it coming. In her joint interview with then-girlfriend and filmmaker Julie Cypher back in 1994, Etheridge talked about the importance of accepting who you are. "On a spiritual level I believe that confronting the fear of coming out loosened up and freed all other aspects in my life. I just think that when you do that for yourself, when you stand up and say, 'This is what I am,' then good things come to you."

For Etheridge, that amounts to her marriage to actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, four children, beating breast cancer, electrifying America with her bald and beautiful comeback performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards, and of course, more acclaimed albums and sold-out stadium shows.

Or maybe it's all a matter of evolution, quips Etheridge: "A lesbian is the highest form of life. I heard that in the hierarchy of reincarnation, the lowest form is a heterosexual man."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff