January 11, 2011
By Dallas Bianchi
The journey for any individual in coming to terms with their sexuality can be often long and grueling. Certainly each experience is unique, but there are also similarities that apply to stories of people who have come out.
But for a celebrity or public official the challenges can be compunded by living in a fishbowl and having one's life on display for all the world to see.
Having come out of the closet as a lesbian, Chely Wright says her lesbian lifestyle has brought her daily hate mail and death threats.
Wright, who came out in People Magazine in May 2010 with an excerpt from her memoir, 'Like Me,' spoke to the lesbian culture/news/politics/entertainment site Autostraddle.com about her long road and difficult decision.
"If it appears from the outside in that it's helped my career, it could be because I haven't talked about the negative. You won't hear me bitching and moaning on my Facebook about the hate mail I've gotten," the 'Single White Female' singer said. "My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, 'I'm through with you Chely Wright, you're going to hell.'"
Perhaps those messages don't shake her because Wright was close to killing herself over being closeted. Perhaps that's where she find herself empowered.
It hasn't been just fans, however, that have been cold to Wright. She said Mary Chapin Carpenter came out with a public statement in support, but she was the only one amongst all her other friends in country music to do so. Some, Wright said, only did so privately.
"They wouldn't want their fans to know they were LGBT friendly," she reasoned. "There are also other artist friends who I never heard from again. There are a lot of other people in the industry that I had a friendly email relationship with, or would occasionally text with that I have not heard a word from."
And while less personal, Wright's career has also taken a hit.