Country music singer Chely Wright has come out as a lesbian. Wright’s coming out story will be featured in the pages of People magazine this week. Wright is being heralded as the first country music star to come out as openly gay – although that claim is a bit questionable.

Speculation has been swirling for days around who would be coming out on the cover of People this week. TMZ.com was apparently the first to ‘confirm’ over the weekend that the gay announcement would be coming from country music singer Chely Wright. 

Chely Wright (Photo: MTW65 - Wikimedia Commons)

Chely Wright (Photo: MTW65 - Wikimedia Commons)

Wright’s coming out announcement coincides with the release of her new album, Lifted Off the Ground, and a new memoir, Like Me. Wright will also appear on The Today Show on Wednesday to discuss her album, book and decision to come clean about her sexual orientation.

“I hid everything for my music,” Wright tells People magazine. “There has never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality… I wasn’t going to be the first.”

39-year-old Wright apparently decided now was finally time to break her silence about her sexuality. “Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out,” Wright says in the People interview.

Although some are heralding Wright as the first country music artist to come out as openly gay, that isn’t quite true. As Salon.com notes, Lavender Country released the first gay country album way back in 1973 and there have been plenty of lesser-known gay country music singers. Plus, k.d. lang may not have been technically a country music star when she came out as a lesbian, but she was certainly well known for her music in that genre.

Still, Wright is pretty much the only widely known, exclusively country singer to wave the gay card. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if the country music industry – and the fans – are ready to embrace an openly gay performer of her level in their midst.

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