“She was a big tough woman, the first to come along that showed me being female meant you still could be strong” – Lyrics from “Ode to Gym Teacher.”
Meg Christian is an American feminist folk singer-songwriter and a founding member of Olivia Records. She became a leader of the women’s music movement, focusing on feminist causes and lesbian rights.
Christian was raised in Lynchburg, Virginia. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a double degree in English and music. She moved to Washington, D.C., where she performed in nightclubs and began to shift her musical focus to social justice and feminist themes. Christian became one of the first singers to incorporate lyrics about lesbianism and feminism into her music.
Christian came out as a lesbian in the 1970s. At that time, such an acknowledgement confined her to the fringes of the music industry. It relegated her music to independent labels and limited her media exposure. She turned this into an asset, becoming a leader in the women’s music movement. She embraced women’s separatism, and during periods of the ’70s, performed exclusively at women-only venues.
In 1973 Christian and other feminist and lesbian activists founded Olivia Records. Christian recorded the label’s first album and toured extensively throughout the country, particularly at music festivals.
Olivia Records successfully recorded and marketed women-produced music, which often contained feminist lyrics or themes. To celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary, Christian performed at Carnegie Hall with pioneering lesbian singer-songwriter Cris Williamson.
Christian began a two-decades-long break from performing in the mid 1980s. She studied and embraced Eastern mysticism and focused on her spirituality.
In 1988 Olivia Records founded Olivia, a lesbian cruise ship company. Christian has performed frequently on the cruise line.
Christian has recorded nine major albums, most of which were produced and distributed by Olivia Records. In 2009 Equality Virginia honored Christian as one of its “Outstanding Virginians.” She continues her music and LGBT activism.