The 13th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Los Angeles - Backstage & Dinner
Melissa Etheridge & Tammy Lynn Michaels

My wife and I used to be major Melissa Etheridge fans; she still is.

We’ve seen her in concert three times (the only live music we saw for 15 years), we have all the CDs, and we’ve followed her life story in the tabloids with interest (but didn’t read her book because it might mess with our interpretation of her lyrics). Not only is she incredibly talented, a lesbian rock star, and making middle-age look good, she’s a fellow Gayby Boomer with four, count ‘em, four kids!

We felt second-hand pride in Melissa’s capture of Julie Cypher’s heart way back when and even more in their public production of two beautiful bouncing babies by insemination—we had two by then—even though I wouldn’t have risked their particular donor. They posed as an earth mama family in Rolling Stone and made lesbian motherhood cool when we were still having to explain to pediatricians, “Yes, we can both be his mother,” and straight moms on the playground would react with, “Oh?” and then Oh!” when they got it or backed away slowly.

It rocked our world when they broke up after 12 years. “Damn it, I thought they were going to make it,” is how I felt. And as with any breakup in the community—somehow, these strangers were in the fold—it sent shockwaves. After all, divorce is a social disease like pregnancy; it can be spread. And couples tumble down like dominos.

By Tammy Lynn’s arrival as Melissa’s arm candy, the respectable magazines were ready to do features on them, not just the tabloids. They got married when one of the brides was bursting with twins, and the public applauded and didn’t expect to be told in detail how two women make a baby. They made same-sex marriage glamorous and became a typical American family with exes, step-children, and shared custody.

So it was a surprise when my wife tossed off a “Did you see Melissa and Tammy Lynn split up?” on the way to her closet to gear up for a long ride the other day. But it wasn’t earth-shattering, there were no shockwaves, and it was just another tumble. By now, so many lesbian celebrities have publicly gotten engaged, married, divorced and lived in sin that who cares? And in our virtual community? The same.

We still have a surprisingly large number of friends and relatives who’ve been espoused for up to 25 years, gay and straight, but we’ve also now attended more weddings that have ended than not. It’s sad, it’s a total bummer, and it’s life.

I’d still be a significant Melissa fan if the older children hadn’t pronounced a ban on all “M” singers—no Melissa, no Madonna, no Mary Chapin Carpenter—during van expeditions. Instead, we get their music, including Depeche Mode, German Industrial bands, soundtracks to vampire movies and remakes of songs I danced to a couple of decades ago, so that’s okay. But I forget how much I love her. I guess Tammy Lynn did, too, or maybe Melissa. That’s their business. But they’re still Gayby Boomers no matter their marriage’s status, which rocks.