Even today, there are few stars ready to come out at the height of their career. In the early ‘90s, it was even more of a rarity. That’s part of what makes Melissa Etheridge’s story special.
The singer-songwriter and activist blazed a trail as an openly lesbian artist, just as her career began taking off. "I had no desire to be closeted to the public. It didn't feel right," she told Philly Magazine in 2014. “So, being gay was the thing I talked about.”
GLAAD recognized her contribution to promoting equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals in culture by presenting Stephen F. Kolzak Award to her in 2006. She’s not only a vocal activist for LGBT rights, but also the environment and the fight against cancer.
She explained her connection to these causes in an interview with The Daily Beast last year: “Well these are, and it’s always been, the issues that are me. I am a gay person. I did have cancer. I am affected by what happens to the world, to our earth. Those things absolutely affect me.”
Check out some of our favorite moments from Melissa’s career, AFTER THE JUMP …