After nearly two decades in country music and after nearly twenty years of speculation over his sexual orientation, Ty Herndon has come out as gay:
"I have an awesome relationship that I've been in for a good number of years. I] love him very much and he loves me."
"I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like, 'Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn't. So I'm gonna need to call on your services for a little while.' It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that's what I had to do to have my career. Standing on some pretty solid legs today, so I get to tell my truth today."
"I've dreamed about being in country music since I was 6 years old. It's my life, it’s what I do, it's who I am, and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be to be a country star."
"I wish I had really great recall or memory about that. I think I had been up for like 6 days doing drugs the night and the day was really a huge blur for me."
Happiness, truthfulness; it’s all in those two words: I‘m gay.
And then, hours later, it happened again …
On the heels of Ty Herndon’s coming out, fellow country music performer Billy Gilman announced that he, too, is gay.
He had his Coming Out on YouTube, and during the five-and-a-half-minute long video, Gilman credited his friend Ty Herndon for making his road a little easier to follow. But, at the same time, he talked about the mere rumor that he might be gay hurt his career, and likely cost him a record deal:
“I threw a showcase in Nashville, and no major label showed. … It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person, but it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that I’m in a genre and an industry that’s ashamed of me for being me.”
Several months ago, a reporter took a picture of Gilman and his partner. He says at that moment he knew what he needed to do.
“It was in that moment that I knew that I’d rather it be from me, than you reading it from somewhere else. I can honestly say I’m scared to death.”
Scared, sure, because you never know what the future holds for you, especially in the country music arena.
I mean, look at it: it appears that Ty Herndon was encouraged to get married twice to maintain a heterosexual image; it seems that just the rumor that Billy Gilman was gay stopped him from signing with a major Nashville record label even though he’d been a very popular child star in country music.
And then there’s Chely Wright.
The good news is, that may be changing, slowly. Ty Herndon notes that he’s seeing increased support for gay country singers, and the LGBT community in Nashville and Country Music:
"Traditionally in country music, we don't see a lot of support for the LGBT community, but that's changing so much. Nashville is changing so much. I mean my goodness… Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for [the lyrics] 'follow your arrow, wherever it points' and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song."
So, maybe there is hope that gay country artists can record music, can be openly gay, and can be invited back to the Grand Ole Opry.
Failing that, at least allow the good folks at Homo HQ to offer a big “Howdy” and a “Welcome Out” to Ty and Billy, and to make sure they receive the Obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven and a copy of The Gay Agenda.
Welcome out, boys, welcome out.