Having come out of the closet as a lesbian, Chely Wright says her public 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 gets her power.
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.
"It's a big stretch from those new [gay] fans to make up for the fans I lost. It didn't help my career. My record sales went directly in half."
Of course, despite the worrying messages, lost friends and the financial hit, she has no regrets: "In coming out I had a feeling that it would diminish my wage earning, and that feeling was correct. And, I am fine with that."
In part, it's because she's been able to help others, and that was a big reason why she came out in the first place, something she also talks about in the interview. Wright has become an active advocate for LGBT issues, starting the LIKE ME organization to help prevent bullying of gay students and provide help and support to those who need it.
For so much more, click over to Autostraddle.com.