The sad, shocking news of five teens who committed suicide in the past week--all as a result of being bullied for being gay--has only one bright side to it: It's gotten the nation talking about the issue and discussing routes to tolerance and acceptance, as well as stopping the epidemic of bullying that has become a tremendous problem among adolescents.
Chely Wright, who came out to the Nashville community and world at large back in May, is one celebrity who is happy to share her experience in the name of halting the abuse. She appeared on Larry King Live Monday night, along with fellow celebs Lance Bass, Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes, Nate Berkus, and Tim Gunn, to talk about her experiences as an openly gay individual and discuss ways to address the problem of gay bullying.
King shared a clip from an upcoming documentary in which Wright explains her reasoning for going public with her sexual orientation. In it, she addresses those who persist in stereotyping gays.
"Country music has been described as being about God, family, and virtue. And for some reason, people think that you can't be gay and have those beliefs," she relates.
"And that's why I have to do this...I have to be one to step forward and say, 'Really? You think you know what gay is?'"
King asked Wright if she found it particularly difficult to be a gay woman in country music. She replied that she believes it's hard for anyone in any field--"It's tough for a junior high math teacher to be a lesbian.
"But, certainly, never having an openly gay or lesbian country music singer, yes, it's been tough."
Wright also revealed she's been the victim of unwelcome attention as a result of her openness. "Since my coming out, I've been bullied," she admitted to King. "I was bullied in school--of course not for being gay, because I hid until May of this year the fact that I'm gay. But since my coming out, yes, I have been bullied. And it doesn't feel good."
On an optimistic note, Wright discussed with King and the panel programs that are being developed to help gay and lesbian teens. She told King that she believes that things will get better; however, "We all have to be paying attention," she cautioned.
"Everyone should get the same shot," was her final word on the matter. "This is the way I was born. I'm a Christian and I'm gay."
Here's the clip of Wright on the show Monday night. I personally think it's very positive that she's using her fame to speak out on this important issue. Be sure to let me know your thoughts.
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