k.d. lang June 1992: Dan Mathews notes that K.D. Lang came out as a lesbian only after first coming out as vegetarian – Bold beginnings
k.d. lang’s journey to coming out as a lesbian actually began in June 1990, when she came out as a vegetarian in a “Meat Stinks’ TV spot produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “If you knew how meat was made, you’d lose your lunch,” lang said in the ad, in which she hugs a cow named Lulu. “I know–I’m from cattle country, and that’s why I became a vegetarian.”
News of the campaign prompted country radio to ban lang’s records, and pro-veg activists countered with protests outside beef-belt radio stations and pro-lang pleas by veggie rockers Paul McCartney and Chrissie Hynde. To the amazement of Warner Bros. Records, lang’s album sales skyrocketed–the flap had brought her music to the attention of a broader crowd.
Events got out of hand, however, when meat extremists defaced a sign outside Consort, Canada, welcoming visitors to the HOMETOWN OF K.D. LANG by scrawling “Eat beef, dyke” and making threats against lang’s mother. That surreal summer inspired k.d. to “move on” from country music, recording Ingenue and scoring her biggest hit, “Constant Craving.”
Without the confines of the country market, lang was also able to come out as gay. Country music, she told Rolling Stone in 1992, “didn’t want to accept my viewpoints: vegetarianism, lesbianism, things that don’t suit the stereotypical role of the female…. Looking back, it was perfect. I had success, like the Grammy, and yet never had airplay, so you had this huge contradiction–which I thrive on.”
Mathews is director of campaigns for PETA.
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