Entertainment » Celebrities

Country Singer Chely Wright Marries Gal Pal

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Aug 23, 2011

Country singer Chely Wright has tied the knot with Lauren Blitzer, the woman she met shortly after coming out as a lesbian last year, Us Magazine reported Aug. 20.

Blitzer works for equality in GLBT civil rights, the article noted. Wright is also an activist in that she is outspoken about being openly lesbian and unapologetic about being a country singer.

"Country music has been described as being about God and family and country," Us Magazine quoted Wright as saying. "And for some reason people think that you can't be gay and have those beliefs. That's why I have to do this. I have to be one to step forward."

Though Wright is Christian, Blitzer is Jewish. Their ceremony, which took place Aug. 20, had both a Christian minister and a rabbi.

People Magazine also covered the wedding, reporting on Aug. 22 that the couple had wed in Connecticut, one of six states where marriage equality is currently legal.

Blitzer tweeted a photo of the brides wearing white gowns that had been created by J. Crew Bridal.

J. Crew generated headlines earlier this year with an ad campaign that celebrated its creative staff and their partners, including one same-sex male couple. The couple was presented as matter-of-factly as any other J. Crew employee together with family; the photo's caption read, "Our designer Somsack and his boyfriend, Micah."

In April, the company's president, Jenna Lyons, appeared with her son Beckett in an online newsletter. Lyons was shown painting Beckett's toenails, prompting anti-gay conservatives to protest that she risked "turning" the boy gay or trans.

There is no medical evidence to indicate that human sexuality can be shaped by either defying or conforming to social gender norms. Similarly, transgender individuals say that their sexual identity is innate, and is not influenced by external factors.

But the idea that gays "choose" their sexuality or that they "turned gay" because of early life experiences is a misconception that many in America still cling to, sometimes for political reasons. It's a mindset that Wright counters with her stance as an open lesbian who is also a devout Christian.

Since coming out, Wright has authored a memoir, "Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer." The book's afterword consisted of an interview between Wright and a journalist.

"I came out so I could live a whole, healthy life, and so I could choose a life partner not in the shadows but in the light," Wright said in the interview, going on to add that she also "wanted to facilitate ease and understanding for young people."

Wright also created a documentary film about coming out, "Wish Me Away," and also was featured in a PBS documentary called "Out in America."

In a July 7 interview with EDGE about "Wish Me Away," Wright expressed the conviction that though coming out is not possible for all Americans, it is a moral imperative for those who have a public voice and who can safely emerge as gay or lesbian.

"I think in this day and age a lot of people think that people don't care if you're gay but people do," Wright told EDGE. "I grew up in Kansas and there are still young people there and older people, too, who feel like they won't be accepted to be who they are and anyone who feels safe and able with a public voice, I think should do it.

"I don't encourage everyone to come out," Wright cautioned. "If you're working at Target in Alabama and you feel like you might lose your job, by all means don't come out. And then for those of us who have a public capital to step out and use it correctly and positively and with class and style... I saw an opportunity to be a better human being and that's why I did it."

Wright also acknowledged that there was a professional price to be paid for coming out, but noted that there was more than enough personal satisfaction to make up for it.

"My record sales went to a third of what they were and I had a feeling they would," Wright told EDGE. "I get some hate mail but it's okay. What are you going to do? I also get mail that says 'Thank you for coming out. You saved my life.' "

When an earthquake of about 5.8 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in Virginia was felt all along the Eastern seaboard, Wright sent out a tweet from New York where the newlyweds were at home. Blitzer, Wright said in her tweet, didn't even notice the tremor.

"We live on the 8th floor," tweeted Wright. "I really really felt it. @lulublitzer didn't, she was up, walking around in the kitchen."

Wright and Blitzer became engaged last April.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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