Country star Chely Wright comes out

In an interview set to hit newsstands this week, Chely Wright says she didn’t want to be the first country-music star to acknowledge his or her homosexuality. But she’s doing so, and in a big way.

News of Wright’s coming out began to break over the weekend of May 1, with national media picking up on the story by Monday, May 3. Severe flooding in Nashville kept local media coverage fairly muted, but that’s likely to pick up in the coming days. A People magazine story is en route, as are appearances on the “Today Show” and other outlets.

All this, plus the release of her memoir, “Like Me,” and “Lifted off the Ground,” her first album in five years, are making for a busy schedule for the artist. Both are set to release on May 4.

"There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality," she says in her People interview. "I wasn't going to be the first."

Then she added. "Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out.”

Wright, 39, may be best known for “Single White Female,” her chart topper in 1999. She’s picked up awards from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, and says in her interviews that she covered up her homosexuality in order to further her career.

"I hid everything for my music," said Wright.

In addition to her album, book and personal-life revelations, Wright also is prepping for the 10th annual Reading, Writing and Rhythm benefit concert at TPAC’s James Polk Theater on June 8. The charity, which sponsors music education programs around the country, was launched by Wright and has raised more than $1 million to date.

As for her coming out, reaction was swift from supporters.

“In coming out, Chely Wright offers country music fans a tremendous opportunity to better understand our community and the importance of conversations that move us toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “As more and more gay and lesbian people live their lives openly and honestly, acceptance and understanding of our community continues to grow. With her decision to come out, Chely Wright promises to be a compelling new voice in that discussion.

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