Why Do We Care that Chely Wright Came Out of the Closet?

When Chely Wright came out of the closet during Oprah’s show this last Wednesday, she opened that closet door for herself and the rest of us. More often than not, when a celebrity comes out of the closet, the world watches and gossips- even if for a day or two. And an event like this one usually has a great impact in how the world sees the homosexual community.

Prior to the article on The Boot, I didn’t even know who Wright was; partly because I’ve never been too fond of Country music. But the message that Chely delivered through her appearance during Oprah’s show, made me want to pay more careful attention to this country singer.

The main theme of her appearance in the show was an apology to an ex-boyfriend. “Doing anything with someone you shouldn’t be doing something with — having sex with him, kissing on him, going into a movie and holding hands with a man when you’re a lesbian feels wrong, When you want to be with someone else, it’s wrong. I wronged him … I damaged [Brad], and I hope he forgives me. I hope this fills in some emotional gaps for him. I don’t assume he’s pining over how Chely Wright hurt his feelings a few years ago. I’m assuming he’s happy and moved on, but I would welcome any chance [to talk to him],” the singer said. Now why do we care that she is apologizing to an ex-boyfriend who she used to date over a decade ago? Because there’s more involved in repressing homosexuality than most people care to realize.

When a homosexual person is pressured into staying in the closet, they are also likely to be pressured into engaging and maintaining straight relationships. When I was 18 and single, every time I had a conversation with any family member, the conversation always started with “so darling, do you have a boyfriend now?” It is really hard to keep up with family (and society) expectations, and when you try to, costly mistakes could be (and will be) made.

Making yourself be with someone can and will hurt you and the person you’re seeing. Wright said, “I had no business being in a relationship with him … I was making a deal again with myself: ‘Well, Chel, you’ll forego love. You’ll go without love. Find someone with whom you can spend your life that makes you laugh, that you like how they live their life, that you can share a
life with.'” How fair can it be that a homosexual person has to let go of love to please society? Making a person do something they really don’t want to do will harm their well being. Being with someone who falls in love with you without being able to return that love will hurt them. If a couple in this situation ever decides to get married and have children, the lack of love will hurt this family. Furthermore, there will be secrecy in the relationship and this secrecy will eventually be resented.

If we want a better world, the change starts with us. Homosexuality can no longer be a side issue, something you talk about only to degrade others. The damage caused to people, families and lives because of homosexual repression is something we can all avoid if we take the responsibility to educate ourselves about this issue and how important it is in our society.

“My dating men was my giving it a Hail Mary toward normal. I ultimately just confused the heck out of  them because I couldn’t love them the way they loved me” – Chely Wright.

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