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Coming Out in Rural Regions

Pete Springer/OPB

Chely Wright became the first major country star to come out as a lesbian two years ago. It took her three years to unroll her announcement to her fans, using a book and documentary to tell her story. At her lowest point, Chely thought of ending her life and even put a gun in her own mouth. She says that desperate act is what prompted her to stop living a lie. After her announcement, she quickly transformed from being a country darling into an outspoken activist forgays and lesbians.

Some wonder if coming out is still a big deal, with even the president voicing his support of same-sex marriage. But just outside of Portland, and even within, anti-gay sentiment still exists making coming out a very difficult process for many people.

Wish Me Away, a documentary about Chely’s experience of coming out, airs at 7 p.m. tonight at McMenamins Kennedy School to kick off QDocFest, Portland’s queer film festival.

Have you come out as gay or lesbian in a rural region? How did where you are from affect your story? If you’re a Chely Wright fan, what was your reaction to her public announcement that she’s a lesbian?


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