Chely Wright is the gay celebrity that will be coming out on ‘People’ magazine’s May 5th cover, according to TMZ. My guess was that Queen Latifah would finally be coming out as a lesbian, but I was close in guessing that the celebrity coming out of the closet was a musician. However, I at first had no idea who Chely Wright is, although with a little quick web research (thanks, Wikipedia), I can see why her announcing that she is gay will be such a big deal.
So who is Chely Wright?
Chely Wright is a gorgeous female country singer (she kind of looks like Holly Hunter with long blonde hair to me) who released her debut album in 1994. Since I don’t follow country music at all, I didn’t recognize her name, but even someone that isn’t a country fan like myself recognizes the titles of some of her biggest hits, ‘Shut Up and Drive’ and ‘Single White Female’. She has also written successful songs for many other country stars, including top ten hit ‘I Can’t Sleep’ for Clay Walker.
So why would it be a big deal for Chely Wright to come out as gay in ‘People’ magazine?
Well, I’ve grown up in an area where many people listen to country music, and most of those people I know aren’t exactly supportive of gay and lesbian couples. I don’t have any statistics on this or anything, but I would guess country music fans are a more conservative bunch (at least the ones I know). And it’s also a very brave move if you look at one statistic that TMZ has reported: Chely Wright is the first major country artist to ever publicly come out. Chely Wright probably knows that many of her fans will abandon her now knowing that she is a lesbian, which is a sad and difficult reality for her to have to face up to.
So why is Chely Wright coming out as a lesbian now?
It’s fairly obvious to me why Chely Wright has chosen May 5th to say “I’m gay” on the cover of ‘People’; she’s got her 7th studio album “Lifted Off the Ground” being released on May 4, 2010 and a memoir entitled ‘Like Me’ coming out the same day (I’m guessing ‘Like Me’ will address her personal life in some way). So what better way to drum up publicity than saying “I’m gay” on the cover of ‘People’ magazine?
So how will this affect Chely Wright’s career?
Since her ‘Shut Up and Drive’ and ‘Single White Female’ days, it looks like Chely Wright’s career has taken a bit of a nose dive. So perhaps announcing that she’s a lesbian will temporarily boost it back up as people curiously pick up ‘Like Me’ and and “Lifted Off the Ground”. Of course it could backfire and her conservative fans may simply shun her, but even if that does happen, hopefully the gay and lesbian community will embrace her. I personally think it would great for gay and lesbian teens that are the sons and daughters of conservative country music fans to have someone like Chely Wright to look up to, and she could also be a great inspiration for other up-and-coming lesbian and gay country artists who love playing the music but feel like they have to hide their personal life from their fans.
So ‘People’ magazine is really hitting it out of the park lately with the Sandra Bullock cover and now this one, and I sincerely hope that Chely Wright announcing she is gay on the cover gets the same positive response that Sandra Bullock’s shocking announcement received.