In a recent interview with People.com, country singer Chely Wright announced that she is a lesbian. The 39 year-old Academy of Country Music Award-winning singer told People, "I hid everything for my music," commenting on the fact that many in the country music
community are not as accepting of LGBT people or issues.
While artists like Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert have made it easier for future generations of pop musicians to come out within their genre of music, the country music genre remains a largely conservative one, often garnering a socially conservative fan base. According to Wright, "There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality." Wright is the first major country music singer-songwriter to come out, and her decision to do so could be signaling a changing landscape of country music. Another example of the changing face of the genre is country duo Court Yard Hounds (which features two members of the Dixie Chicks), who recently released a song "Ain't No Son", which was inspired by gay teens coming out.
In the interview Wright also commented "Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out."
“In coming out, Chely Wright offers country music fans a tremendous opportunity to better understand our community and the importance of conversations that move us toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality,” said Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “As more and more gay and lesbian people live their lives openly and honestly, acceptance and understanding of our community continues to grow. And with her decision to come out, Chely Wright promises to be a compelling new voice in that discussion.”
Chely Wright will appear at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco on June 5. At the event, Cybill Shepherd will receive the Golden Gate Award and Lee Daniels, the Academy Award-nominated director of Precious, will receive the Davidson/Valentini Award.