Melissa Etheridge’s “Uprising of Love” released digitally Tuesday morning. We spoke with the vocal equal rights activist Monday about her soaring new single, which benefits Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community activists. (Look for our full Q&A with Etheridge closer to her appearance at this year’s South by Southwest in March; more on the movement at www.russiafreedomfund.org.)
“(‘Uprising of Love’) was just a natural progression from reading the articles that were coming from Russia and receiving them right after the summer when the Supreme Court knocked down DOMA and Proposition 8 got overturned. ‘Wee!’ There were big strides for the (LGBT) community. Then you start reading about Russia and you think, 'Oh gosh, it never stops. It keeps going out.' So, I thought, 'Hey, let me do what I do. I’ll write a song.'
“The actual Uprising of Love movement is more about awareness. It’s about don’t be afraid to come out. Coming out is what changes the world. The (Russia Freedom) fund is about, OK, if you want to support these things moving forward, you can donate money and it goes straight to the LGBT leaders in Russia, who are horribly understaffed.
"We met all of the leaders and there were 11 of them in the whole country on a payroll. The rest were volunteers. The more funds they get, the more outreach they can do. That’s what’s gonna change hearts and minds. People will see, 'Oh, my neighbor, he’s gay. He’s all right.' When people feel safe enough to come out, that’s when change happens.”