Welcome to #TBT, our new weekly trip down memory lane, highlighting throwback lesbian events every Thursday.
It’s August 1993. Bill Clinton is halfway through his first year as President. The AIDS crisis is ravaging our community. It’s only been a year since k.d. lang released “Ingénue” and came out publicly. And on the cover of “Vanity Fair,” photographer Herb Ritts has her decked out in butch splendor, nuzzling up to Cindy Crawford in her prime. (Can you say “goals?”)
Playing with gender like that—posing lang in a suit, being shaved by the world’s hottest barber—was controversial at the time. But it was also revolutionary: capturing a lesbian (a butch lesbian!) in a sexy, sensual, tender moment? In a huge mainstream publication? Well, it certainly made for an unforgettable cover.
Last month, lang spoke with NPR about the 25th anniversary of “Ingénue” and, of course, her personal coming out along with the record. She said, “[T]here was so much pressure at that time. Queer Nation was outing people and AIDS was in full-blown mode back then in the press and in life, and I just felt like I had a responsibility to come out and take some of the air out of it…. I’m really, really proud that I did that.”
You know what, k.d.? We are, too.