January 20, 1993: Today in LBGTQ+ history…
On January 20, 1993, singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge announced to the world that she was a lesbian when she came out at the Triangle Ball, an LGBTQ-focused celebration of US President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
Etheridge said at the time that singer K.D. Lang, who had come out on the cover of The Advocatethe previous year, had been an inspiration.
“You’re the greatest thing I’ve seen this year, and I’m proud to say right here, I’m proud to have been a lesbian all my life,” the raspy-voiced Etheridge declared.
It was “a relief” to come out, she later said.
People were riveted by the story of a mainstream artist admitting her homosexuality at a time when such a proclamation was extremely rare and exceptionally taboo. When Etheridge released her aptly titled fourth album “Yes I Am” (with its gay-positive anthems “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window”) later that year, she was catapulted to international stardom.
Today, Etheridge remains a true LGBTQ icon and activist who continues to bring a message of empowerment and acceptance to the community.