October – GLBT History Month

I’m celebrating October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but I probably should be making my blog a rainbow of gay goodness.  Why?  It’s GLBT History Month as well.

I kept meaning to blog about it earlier, but it continually slipped my mind.  I’m a horrible gay person.  Today, they’re celebrating Rosie O’Donnell, but the most influential person to me on the list of 31 icons is Melissa Etheridge.  I cannot recall a time when she wasn’t in my life somehow.  So many mornings, I woke up to her voice flooding the house, or riding in the car and listening to the many tapes my parents had.  Maybe, in an odd way, I have her to thank for having such an open family.  When I came out, it wasn’t the horrible experience that so many others have had to endure.  Even before I came out, I remember my mom telling me a story about something that happened to her and my dad at a Melissa Etheridge concert.  They were riding in an elevator and two gay boys started making out and fondling each other and my mom asked them to stop.  Of course, they both became extremely defensive and immediately thought my mom was attacking them for being gay.  It wasn’t that at all, and she was quick to inform them that she didn’t mind at all that they were gay, she just didn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with a couple, straight or gay, who couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  It was uncomfortable.  The couple apologized sheepishly but nobody could really blame them – it’s kind of instinct, you know.  The rest of the ride went smoothly.

That story was, I guess you can describe it as a security blanket, when I decided to come out to my parents.  I’m not saying Melissa Etheridge opened their eyes to the gay culture, but maybe it helped.  In any case, Melissa Etheridge isn’t just an amazing singer, she’s also a GLBT activist, AND she works well into my currently WP theme because she’s a survivor of breast cancer.  She’s an all-around influential person in my life.

In celebration of GLBT History Month – who is your most influential icon in the gay culture?  And for anyone else who might stumble upon this, who is your most influential icon in any culture?