I think I first fell in love with Dolly Parton when I heard Just Because I’m a Woman, which really resonated with the feminist in me. Of course, her role as Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 earned her my undying love. My love for her only grew when I had the pleasure of working with her when I worked at the Country Music Hall of Fame as a tour guide. She also happened to have lived behind my parents’ home in Brentwood, TN. One can imagine how troubled I was to learn of an incident of homophobic discrimination at Dollywood–I thought surely Dolly has no knowledge of this incident.
A lesbian couple and their children were at Dollywood. One of the women was wearing a t-shirt that said “Marriage is so gay.” An employee at the park asked her to turn her shirt inside out, so as to not offend the heterosexual people. (Part of me has to giggle here because it makes me want to ask all of my heterosexual couples to please have the decency to not act straight in public–that good old double standard)
Here is where the story has a happy ending. True to form, our Dolly offered a public apology on behalf of the homophobic behavior of the employee. Dolly said:
I am truly sorry for the hurt or embarrassment regarding the gay and lesbian t-shirt incident at Dollywood’s Splash Country recently. Everyone knows of my personal support of the gay and lesbian community. Dollywood is a family park and all families are welcome. I am looking further into the incident and hope and believe it was more policy than insensitivity. I am very sorry it happened at all.
Yes, my love for Dolly is forever. Of course, when your good friends are Linda Ronstadt and Emmoylou Harris, you know this Trio is worth their weight in gold.