“As long as k.d. keeps parading her talents for the world to see, we butches have a role model”
BY LINDA RILEY
Since k.d. lang first burst on to the international scene after performing at the winter Olympics closing ceremony in 1988, the Canadian singer-songwriter has held a special place in the hearts of lez/bi women everywhere.
We all whooped when she came out of the closet in 1992 (but kinda knew all along), and since then she has become the face of butch lesbian visibility across the globe.
Actually, when you come to think about it, aside from k.d. and Horse McDonald, butches are not well represented in the entertainment world.
But as a butch lesbian who does work in the media (albeit as a publisher) it was with excitement that I headed across town to the Hammersmith Apollo last Sunday night.
k.d. did not disappoint with, predictably, the biggest cheer of the night greeting the classic Constant Craving. I was also especially moved by the singer’s rendition of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – a track much covered but seldom with such feeling and raw emotion as this.
What’s more, she finally laid to rest the myth that butches can’t dance by skipping across the stage with the twinkletoed acumen of a woman half her age. Next stop Strictly? She’d certainly get my vote.
Much has been written about butch lesbians being a dying breed. I’m one, and I remain very much alive, but it is true that there seems to be fewer of us around than there used to be.
I have no idea why this is: the pressure to conform to stereotypes, different ways to identify yourself (we just had gay or lesbian, with lesbian split into butch and femme) or maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places.
Either way, representation is important and as long as k.d. lang keeps parading her considerable talents for the world to see, we butches have an outstanding role model.
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