This week’s HWA comes with a hearty congratulations to country music star Chely Wright who married her fiancée, Lauren Blitzer, last Saturday, August 20. Wright was the first major country star to come out as LGBT. She did so knowing full well the impact it could have on her career. After years of trying to hide her sexual orientation, including a disastrous affair with the homophobic Brad Paisley, Wright decided in May 2010 to come out publicly. She cited the damage to her personal well-being from all the “lying and hiding” and her growing concern over all the bullying and suicides in the LGBTQ teen community.
She notes the irony of the country music community being so frequently opposed to homosexuality:
The thing that I don’t understand — the thing I find so … hilarious, actually, is the fact that the country music community, fine folk that they are (and that’s not sarcasm), openly supports and encourages things like alcoholism. So … being gay isn’t okay, but being a drunk is?
Since coming out, she has been a vocal LGBT rights activist and an articulate spokesperson for the community.
I hear the word ‘tolerance’—that some people are trying to teach people to be tolerant of gays. I’m not satisfied with that word. I am gay, and I am not seeking to be ‘tolerated’. One tolerates a toothache, rush-hour traffic, an annoying neighbor with a cluttered yard. I am not a negative to be tolerated.
Brava, Chely! Thank you for your bravery in coming out, your honesty in dealing with a hostile community, and your support of the most vulnerable LGBTQ Americans. May you and Lauren have a long and happy life together.