Well, the big gay news came out today; country music singer, Chely Wright, revealed she is a lesbian. OK. I have to admit, I am not a new country music fan, so last night when a good friend and her reliable hotline of gabbin’ gays speculated with certainty the name of the heavily hyped celebrity homo, I said, “Who?” My bad I guess. The way the media has been carrying on, my money was on Oprah…or at the very least, Hillary. Condoleeeza Rice? Sarah Palin?
Other than providing a news cycle of actual gay content to the niche entertainment sites (don’t worry Megan Fox, you’ll be front-page again real soon), what does this really mean? I give Chely Wright deserved credit and high praise for living her personal truth, but the stark truth is that thousands of men, women, and teens make this very difficult decision daily without the political cover of People magazine. Make no mistake, there is a definite correlation between her book, her new CD, and her sexuality all coming out at the same time. And I say more power to you…work it if you got it.
Some are saying that by Chely Wright coming out, those ultra-conservative country music fans can now say they know a homosexual because her music is played in their car, their home, and their honky tonk. And that may be so, but before you and I make repeated trips to the post looking for that next tea party invitation, two words…Dixie Chicks. Natalie Maines was practically plucked by merely mentioning that George Bush was an embarrassment, something nearly 70% of the country eventually agreed with in 2008.
My point is, celebrity coming out stories make for fun media speculation and girl gossip, but when used as a barometer to test the frontal boundaries of everyday people, it just doesn’t measure up. Sure that sweet little lady from Mississippi will dance for America with a dykey daytime talk show host, but don’t ask her to extend her tax dollars for a home town high school senior dance that includes a lesbian in a bad tuxedo. And on a much smaller scale, “You know, Schmootz, you are kind of amusing sometimes, but I’m never going to vote to allow you to get married. It’s just not right” And that’s my next door neighbor who borrows the big gay cup of sugar, the occasional big gay beer, and shovels my big gay sidewalk every other time. She knows me…I hum 80’s tunes while riding in her car, I sing stuck-on-the-brain Glee selections in her home, and at times, I even get Haggard in her honky tonk. I’ve done the Wright thing, but it just hasn’t made a difference…I’ll keep trying.