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Friday Mixtape

Lesbians with Guitars

by Rachel Devitt

Lesbians with Guitars

About this playlist

All right, it's a terrible stereotype. And OK, not every artist on this playlist identifies as a Lesbian-with-a-capital-L (some are bi, some are queer, some are questioning). And fine, they don't even all play guitars.

But dang if the stereotype of the earnest, acoustic (or electric!) guitar-strumming, folk-singing (or rock-screaming!) lesbian with her heart on her sleeve and perhaps Birkenstocks or combat boots on her feet isn't associated with some really awesome music and some amazing musicians, from Melissa Etheridge's raw rock to blues foremothers like Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton, from Tribe 8's searing grrrl punk to contemplative alt-country from Brandi Carlile's just-released fourth album. And of course, this playlist also constitutes a timeline of brave icons and inspirational moments in LGBT history, an archive of artists who were "out" before it was OK to be and subversively queer long before that -- just in time for June, which is National LGBT Pride month, FYI.

Oh, and while we're justifying our cliches, we'll also point out that the lesbian with a guitar is as storied and beloved an in-joke in the LGBT community as the one about what a lesbian brings to a second date. (Hint: You can put your guitar, your Birkies and your ottoman with hidden storage in it.)