US: Two country music stars come out as gay in ‘solidarity’

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After one US country star came out as gay yesterday, another decided it would be a good act of solidarity to do the same.

Ty Herndon came out as gay in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, revealing that he has been in a relationship for five years. He said he had gone to “great lengths” to hide the fact that he is gay during his career.

Herndon and his partner are both practising Christians, and he said he hoped they would be able to have a family.

Just hours later, Billy Gilman, who found fame at the age of 11, now 26, also came out as gay.

He criticised the country music industry for being “ashamed” of gay musicians, and for harbouring an atmosphere which encourages gay artists to stay in the closet.

Gilman came out in a YouTube video titled ‘My Story By Billy Gilman’. He also revealed that he has been in a relationship for five months.

When asked what his biggest regret was, Herndon said: ” ‘That I couldn’t be gay and be in country music.

“I’ve dreamed about being in country music since I was six years old and it’s my life, it’s what I do, it’s who I am and I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be a country star. And today I get to tell the world I am an out, proud, and happy gay man.”

Gilman said in his video: “It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist or a gay artist or a gay person.

“But it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that because I’m in an genre and industry that is ashamed of me for being me.”

Despite saying: “I felt it was time to be honest”, Gilman went on to say that his career will be negatively affected by his coming out.

He said he had made the decision to come out after a reporter took a photo of him and his partner, and that he wanted to do it on his own terms.

Continuing. he said: “Ty Herndon, who I’ve known and been a fan of – congratulations on such a courageous effort.”

“Country music is changing its tune on equality,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “By sharing his story, Ty Herndon is helping to move the needle for LGBT music artists in the country industry. It’s personal stories like his that help people understand that gay people can also be Christians, cowboys, and even country music stars.”