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Lesbian Icons - Who Are the Top 5?

The definition of an icon is an object of great attention and devotion, sometimes known as an idol. Therefore to make it into our top 5 lesbian icons, lesbians have to be pretty amazing people who are constantly in the public eye, appeal to our sense of sexual identity, fight for the cause of lesbian and gay civil rights and have an amazing career or talent that we aspire to. Such a list of prerequisites probably makes you think that such women don't exist, but we are here to prove you wrong! Here is our list of top five lesbian icons and reasons why we think they deserve a place.

1. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres has been through an outing, depression, loss of a partner, and cancellation of her show - all in the public eye. This lovable comedienne and actress has such an attractive allure that most lesbians can't help but love her. She came out in 1997 - the same time as her on screen character, Ellen - on the front cover of Time magazine. Her public admission of being a lesbian did not do her well though, and soon afterwards her show was cancelled for being "too gay". Since then she has appeared in If These Walls Could Talk 2, with Sharon Stone, and started her own chat show, which has proved to be hugely popular with all Americans, including us lesbians! Although she hates to think of herself as a lesbian icon and spokesperson, she is! Her turmoil in recent years has endeared her to us and that's what makes her number one in our eyes!

2. Martina Navratilova
A close second comes Martina Navratilova, a Czech born American tennis player who has won 167 singles titles, 173 doubles titles, and 58 Grand Slams. This really is a glittering array of tennis achievement, but why should that give her second place in our lesbian icons? Firstly, Martina Navratilova paid the price for being an out lesbian. She came out as bisexual in 1980 after the public began to find out about her affair with novelist Rita Mae Brown, and, as a result she has never really won the amount of sponsorship that other feminine, straight players have. Secondly, since she has openly admitted she is a lesbian, she has been actively involved in promoting gay rights. We have seen her filing a lawsuit against Colorado's Anti Gay Amendment in 1993, and out and proud in the National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights on the same year. She continues to fight for civil rights and as a visible and famous leader in the cause it's no wonder we all salute her!

3. K D Lang
K D Lang has been an out lesbian singer for as long as most of us can remember; in fact she became an out lesbian ten years after her career started. Her roots really began in country but when she alienated herself from country music fans by declaring her strict vegetarianism her career took a sudden twist into popular music. She is forever reinventing herself in the world of music, from country to pop to a 1950's style crooner, but whatever she does she is adored by lesbians worldwide - this is illustrated by the fact that she has won 4 Grammy's. She is politically active, particularly in the gay fight against AIDS, and anyone that openly uses their sexuality and celebrity status to promote gay and lesbian causes should be hailed a goddess!

4. Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge is a hugely successful singer songwriter, and with more than 25 million record sales under her belt, two Grammy's, and the ASCAP songwriter of the year award, she is known for being one of the most successful lesbian singers of our time. She openly admitted her sexuality in 1993 at a gay Clinton inauguration ball and even since that day, her admission has catapulted her success. She is a world renowned spokesperson for the gay and lesbian community; we just need more women like her!

5. Who Do We Choose?
The fifth place is really open to competition! For years and years now the top four spots have been held by the same women and whilst it seems as though contenders for the fifth lesbian icon pale in comparison we should allow room for newcomers to the scene! It's probably best if we leave the contender for fifth place up to you, but some people who we consider deserving of a place are:

  • Ani DiFranco - An out bisexual singer who took the corporate led music industry by the balls and set up her own record label, Righteous Babes, to release her music.
  • Rosie O'Donnell - Former chat show host, comedienne and actress who outed herself in 2002. She is known for her avid support of gay marriage and civil rights. She has openly pronounced her disgust at Bush's proposed amendment that will ban gay marriage and married her own partner in in San Francisco.
  • Leisha Hailey - Is an out lesbian that plays Alice in the L Word. She is known in lesbian circles for having a relationship with KD Lang and having a cameo role in the Ellen Show where Ellen infamously outed herself. She is the only known "real" lesbian in the L Word and, as the show is such a huge success, why shouldn't someone from it appear in this top 5!
  • Alex Parks - Is a young U.K lesbian singer who took the country by storm when she won Fame Academy with her unique voice that's reminiscent of Annie Lennox. She has never hid her sexuality, and, although she doesn't like to look at herself as a lesbian icon, she's heading that way!

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