Dolly Parton to gays: “’You need to let people know who you are and you need to come on out.’
Dolly Parton has proven her staying power with her latest album Pure & Simple debuting at number one on the Billboard country music chart.
And plenty of those purchases have no doubt been by her legions of gay fans.
The 70 year old entertainer recently opened up about the gay people in her life and how she has encouraged them to be their authentic selves.
‘I’ve had many people through the years who I have helped to feel good about themselves,’ she tells PrideSource in an interview posted Tuesday.
‘I say, “You need to let people know who you are and you need to come on out. You don’t need to live your life in darkness – what’s the point in that? You’re never gonna be happy; you’re gonna be sick. You’re not gonna be healthy if you try to suppress your feelings and who you are.”‘
Parton’s introduction to gay people came when she was a teenager in Tennessee.
‘There were a couple of guys downtown that everybody was sayin’ were queer, ya know? I know they often said that about anybody who was odd or different – “they’re just queer, just strange and odd” – but the way they would talk about these two guys they would say, “Well, they’re sissies, they’re girls.”
‘I was a teenager then. But in my early days we did not know (what gay was). It didn’t take me long to know that people were different and that was always fine with me ’cause I was different too, and I embraced and accepted them and I knew them. I knew them well.’
Over the years, Parton has discovered ‘many’ gays and lesbians in her own family.
‘We accept them, we embrace them,’ she says.
‘Oh, there are some in the mountains who still don’t know quite what to make of it or how they should feel about it, but they’re ours and they’re who they are and we know they’re wonderful and they’re like us. We love the fact that they are who they are and we nurture that. We don’t try to make them feel separate or different. We embrace it.’ -