A dedicated fan has launched an online petition that hopes to get one of the first openly gay singers in country music back on the stage of the famed Grand Ole Opry.
Chely Wright came out of the closet in 2010 after rising to stardom in the late '90s. According to the petition, Wright first sang on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1989 and was a staple in its rotation of performing musicians -- until she identified herself as a lesbian.
After coming out in 2010, Wright's career was reportedly put into a tailspin. The singer reportedly lost a large portion of her fan base and her relationship with her mother suffered -- the two reportedly no longer speak. She also stopped getting invited to play the Opry.
"I was kind of an Opry darling," Wright previously told People magazine. "I’d be called to perform at least every 10 weeks, until my coming out. Since then, I’ve not heard a peep." Now, openly gay country music fan and musician David Dilsizian is trying to change all of that.
“Chely Wright has worked very hard to establish herself in country music and I feel that just because she came out as a lesbian doesn't mean she can't be part of that community," said Dilsizian in a statement. "I have heard people say the country music industry doesn't feel an openly gay person will be accepted. Now’s their chance to let the fans speak, and show that the country music industry isn’t made up of stereotypes.”
Though country still has some work to do to catch up when it comes to accepting, promoting and celebrating LGBT musicians, things do seem to be slowly be changing, with individuals such as Wright and openly gay Steve Grand helping to redefine the image of a country music singer/songwriter.
Interested in helping Wright return to the Grand Ole Opry stage? Head on over to Change.org to sign the petition.