The internet has been full of rumors and ideas about who would be coming out on the cover of People magazine next week and TMZ has the inside scoop. Country singer Chely Wright, 39, will come out of the closet publicly and announce that she's joining the board of Faith In America.
Wright, who scored a #1 hit with "Single White Female" in 1999 and was the first entertainer to perform in Iraq after the US invasion, is the first popular country singer to come out of the closet. She also has a new book, Like Me, that hits shelves next week and a soon-to-be-released album: Lifted Off the Ground. Sources tell TBP the liner notes for the album will include a list of pro-LGBT resources - including GLSEN, Interfaith Alliance, and Faith In America.
Known as a devout Christian, the close association with Faith In America is a natural fit for the country superstar. "Her life experiences drew her to the work FIA is doing," Mitchell Gold, Faith In America's founder, told me. "She knows this is a big part of the change we need."
Video of Wright's hit plus why her coming out is significant after the jump.
"Chely has made a commitment, like me, that not one more kid should go through what we went through. We often talk about having the right messengers deliver the messages of equality to various audiences," Gold said. "Well, now we have one - a shining star - that will touch an audience I dare say none of us could ever dream to. I think this is going to be significant."
Cathy Renna, a lesbian public relations guru who's assisted many celebrities in coming out, also thinks that Wright's disclosure will make a positive impact. "Chely Wright's coming out is impactful in ways that most activists, coastal and blue state dwellers and cynics just will not get: this is a major country star who is true to her faith and wiling to talk about the pain caused by the closet and the religious bigotry she has experienced," Renna said.
"Chely reaches an audience that a lot of people would want to write off, but if we are truly committed to changing the world for the better for LGBT people in the long run, we must have the guts to talk to the Bible belt," she continued. "There are ways to talk about these issues and make people realize that the root of their fears and prejudice come from their religious upbringing."
So what do you think? Will Wright's coming out be significant?