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Chely Wright Feels Shut Out of Country Music, Looks for Support From a Star Who Is a ‘Big Deal’

CBS This Morning

It hasn’t been an easy road for country star Chely Wright, who admitted to the public two years ago that she is a lesbian. Since that time, Wright has felt shut out of the industry. Even though no country stars have directly insulted the ‘Single White Female’ singer, she feels that after she came out she was greeted with a steely silence.

When the singer appeared on ‘CBS This Morning’ Wednesday (May 30), she talked openly about how her sexuality has affected her career.

“As my friend (Rodney Crowell) said, ‘I don’t think (the rejection is) going to be fire and brimstone, I think they’re going to freeze her out,’” Wright said.

Wright might feel closed out by her fellow country stars because she wasn’t invited to attend any of this year’s major industry events. While she admits that stars like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum are the popular artists today, she has recently felt a “rejection of silence.”

“It’s not my belief that I should be performing on every awards show … Now it’s the new Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum, that’s a natural part of entertainment,” she said. “(But) there’s an institutionalized friendship within country music, once you’re in, once you’re one of us, you’re always invited to certain things to present or be a part of it or chair a committee for the Country Music Hall of Fame, which I used to do things like that.”

“I need a country artist who is a big deal, like Jay-Z in his community — he came forward and said, ‘I believe in equality for all.’ I’m struggling because I have not heard that from the big stars in country music.”

Instead of dwelling on the difficulties, Wright is focusing on an advocacy group called GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. She group is trying to end bullying in public schools.

“I’m trying to work on those things and to use my voice to make sure that everyone out there in America knows, you do love a gay person,” she said. “It may not be me, but I promise you, you have a neighbor, a coworker, a niece, and be mindful of the negative things you say about gays and lesbians because someone is listening.”

The country star allowed film makers to film her coming out process for a movie called ‘Wish Me Away.’ The documentary will be available in New York City and on-demand tomorrow (June 1). On June 15, it will hit theaters in Los Angeles, and other cities will follow.

Watch Chely Wright’s ‘CBS This Morning’ Interview

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