Monday, November 15, 2010

Many Kinds of Courage

The courage that it takes to come out of the closet comes in many forms. Even when, as in my case and in the case of many I know, we get yanked out of the closet by our indescrection or stupidity, it takes courage to keep breathing, to take each step as it comes.

With that in mind I would like to share part of an artical from the Dallas Voice about the Annual Black Tie Dinner here in Dallas. The artical, in part, tells about Chely Wright's speach regarding coming out of the closet just this year.

For those of you who don't follow county music, fourty year old Chely Wright is an award winning American country music artist and, starting in 2010, gay rights activist.

Wright became the first major country music performer to publicly come out as gay. In television appearances and an autobiography, she cited among her reasons for publicizing her gayness a concern with bullying and hate crimes toward gays, particularly gay teenagers, and the damage to her life caused by "lying and hiding".

On May 4, 2010, Wright released both her memoir of being a closeted lesbian, Like Me, and her first album of new songs since 2005.

At the Black Tie fund raising dinner she related her life story to the crowd of over 3,000. She spoke of knowing from a young age that she was gay, and how she had struggled to keep her orientation a secret to try and earn — and later, preserve — her career in country music.

I have editied it down to just her remarks about coming out as a LBG (Late Breaking Gay.)“Living two lives is quite a chore,” Wright said, as she talked about reaching a point where “I knew something had to give,” and the cold morning in 2006 when she went so far as putting the muzzle of a 9-mm pistol in her mouth.

But instead of pulling the trigger, Wright said, she prayed to God, as she had all her life. But this time, instead of praying for God to change her, she prayed that God would “give me a moment’s peace.”

Immediately, Wright continued, “oceans and oceans of peace washed over me,” and she knew that not only would she not take her own life, but that she would come out “as a gay woman, as a proud Christian and as an advocate for youth.”

Wright, who came put publicly only six months ago, acknowledged that others in the room had spent much longer fighting for LGBT equality.

“It is a bit of a strange thing to be honored by Black Tie Diner and this esteemed group of people. I look out and see so many of you who have not been able to or who have chosen not to hide a day in your lives, and to have you applaud for me is, well, it’s surreal,” she said.

“I look to you as heroes. … You are simply amazing to me. Thank you for leading the way,” she continued. “It is certainly not lost on me that you folks in this room tonight are the reason that the movement of equality, fairness and understanding continues to evolve.”

As a Late Breaking Gay (LBG) coming out after 50, I too will always be in awe of those who have always been out.

What amazing courage.

Thanking for leading the way.

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