QUEER VOICES
11/20/2014 06:20 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Country Singer Billy Gilman Comes Out As Gay

Country singer Billy Gilman, who shot to stardom at age 11 with "One Voice," has come out as gay.

The 26-year-old Rhode Island native spoke apprehensively, but at length, about his sexuality in a new YouTube clip posted on Nov. 20. The singer says he was inspired by fellow country musician Ty Herndon, who came out as gay in interviews with People magazine and Entertainment Tonight the very same day, in his decision to come out.

Discussing his struggles to be taken seriously as an adult country performer by record labels, he says, "It's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that because I'm in an genre and industry that is ashamed of me for being me."

Gilman, who says he's been with a partner for about five months, went on to note, "I want to say that all of the country artists that literally I grew up with -- Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Lee Ann Rimes and all of these wonderful friends of mine have been nothing but supportive. Not that they knew but they've just been such wonderful people."

Before offering fans a sneak peek at a forthcoming music video, he adds, "I've been an advocate for so many things in my life that I thought, why not now be an advocate for me and for the cause that I believe in with my whole heart?"

GIlman now joins Herndon, Cheyl Wright and "All-American Boy" singer Steve Grand in the ranks of country music's out and proud performers.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Celebrities Who Have Come Out As LGBT
CONVERSATIONS