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Chely Wright to Frank Ocean

Coming Out is Liberating

But Career-Damaging

7/4/2012 8:33 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0704_getty_chely_wright
Country star Chely Wright -- the first gay country singer to come out of the closet -- tells TMZ, she was moved to tears when she read Frank Ocean's declaration that he's gay (or bi), but she says freedom comes at high cost.
 
Chely says, "I can't think of a better way for Frank to celebrate Independence Day.  It's spectular."
 
But Chely also says she realizes many country and hip hop artists and fans have an intolerance toward gays, and it certainly has had an impact on her career.
 
She says her record sales have dropped to 1/3 of what they were before she revealed in 2010 that she's a lesbian. She also said that a number of venues have made her persona non grata, because they fear fans will boycott her performances.
 
Chely also notes that no other country star has come out of the closet since she did, but says both she and Frank are forging a path that will eventually allow people to live their lives openly and without shame.

So we gotta ask ...

132 COMMENTS

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46.

Bart    

Wow - thanks Chely for your support! As a gay man, it really bugs me when Chely Wright is offered up as the LGBTQ spokesperson and example for career tragedy coming-out stories. Firstly, Chely spent most of her life - professional and personal - in the closet before contacting a Hollywood publicist to orchestrate her coming out. Secondly, her "coming out" occurred - conveniently, perhaps or perhaps not - at a time when her career and record sales had floundered. (And a quick glance at her wikipedia page shows that her record sales were at a "1/3" or even less of her '90s hey day - not because she came out.) Plus, she's a country singer! Know your audience, Chely! If she had followed the Dixie Chicks' example and abandoned the rednecks who she knew would not stand up for her, she'd have more respect from me. As a gay man, her "woe is me, I'm a lesbian that country music abandoned" schtick seemed really dumb. Let's not forget she spent most her professional life performing for these hicks. Where was the awakening? I honestly think it's a combination of these things - and her willingness to scream victim now as a spokesperson to every gay coming out story - that signaled the spiraling of her career, not so much the gay thing.

The climate around coming out has changed. Stars are doing it in a less orchestrated and more authentic way. Saying "I fell in love. What's the big deal?"(See Anderson Cooper and Zachary Quinto) is certainly more admirable than hiring Howard Bragman to pull out a 6-month media blitz and produce a do***entary about your coming out to time with the release of your new record - and a People magazine cover. Not so heartfelt. Perhaps that's why some careers fell. If the coming out is authentic and heartfelt - and not offered up as an overt statement, I don't see why people would care.

I, for one, think R&B will support Frank Ocean. I do! Happy 4th, folks!

805 days ago
47.

3Storms    

"Coming out" is juvenile and childish, and nothing but an attempt to draw attention to someone. You don't see heteros caring if anyone knows they're hetero. Gays should stop it with this "coming out" crap, grow up, and stop caring what anyone else thinks of them

805 days ago
48.

p51d007    

Homosexual or straight...I could care less. Here's where I draw the line. Everyone should be treated EQUALLY, plus, if you are an "entertainer", then when I pay money to listen to you entertain, I don't want to be PREACHED TO! Keep your POLITICAL views to yourself, unless you are at a POLITICAL event. Same when I go to a movie, concert etc...I get enough of that garbage on tv. Movies & concerts are an ESCAPE mechanism, so if you want to be an "activist", do it somewhere BESIDES your concerts. Plus, you are homosexual, big whoop. I'd be just as offended if a straight couple started making out on stage, as I would a homosexual couple, so keep the PDA's at home will ya? People like Jodie Foster have been homosexuals for years, but, SHE keeps her sexuality to herself. If more people, homosexual or not would do that, we'd be better off.

805 days ago
49.

SpeakTheWord    

Yes HAVOK just like being retarded being gay is a mental defect. Ask any doctor ..

805 days ago
50.

Phil Cuevas    

You forgot to include "Who Cares" In your voting poll

805 days ago
51.

Tessa    

Sadly, there will always be conservatives and republicans.

805 days ago
52.

Tessa    

SADLY, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE CONSERVATIVES AND REPUBLICANS, AND PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT GOD HIMSELF DIDN'T CREATE THEM GAY!!!!!!!

805 days ago
53.

haskel420    

BEING GAY IS A CHOICE

805 days ago
54.

jeff    

She is so beautiful! You can have ellen or rosie, Chely is the prettiest lesbian I have ever seen. I'd take her home and make a woman out of her.

805 days ago
55.

Grahf    

Hey

805 days ago
56.

SallyChi    

Well, maybe she shouldn't be a country singer...maybe she should be a manager or open a business.

805 days ago
57.

Truth    

She is a d level country singer that had a couple of hits a decade ago. Hardly a headliner and her career has been over for years anyway.

805 days ago
58.

Cody    

Difficult and damaging decision? Tell that to Tom Gable....or Laura Jane Grace.....the lead singer of Against Me.....yeah.

805 days ago
59.

redriverrunt    

Two hit songs/videos and one hit album and then 8 years of mediocare music but ....yea... it must have been her admission of being homosexual that hurt her career.

805 days ago
60.

chuckles    

You can't think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than by declaring you take it up the butt?

805 days ago
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