A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Sports
If you haven’t heard (then you haven’t been on Curve’s website lately), there’s big news in the lesbian world. Country singer Chely Wright has come out. In the conservative arena of country music, this is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community. It will be interesting to see how the country music community itself responds to Wright. It wasn’t too long ago that the Dixie Chicks were shunned after making disparaging remarks about George W. Bush. This is a whole other can of worms.
You may be wondering why I am talking about a country singer on a sports blog. Well, there’s always a sports twist. In her autobiography, Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer, Wright “confesses” that she fell into the same stereotype trap that many other people do when observing lesbian athletes. When she first laid eyes on Billie Jean King, she wasn’t sure if she was a man or a woman.
Wright goes onto explain that it took her some time to figure out how lesbians are supposed to look, because she didn’t feel as though she could have a successful career as a country singer if she looked like King.
She wrote: “I was afraid that the way they appeared was the way that I was destined to become. It scared me because I couldn’t imagine how a woman who had an appearance like they did would ever be able to sing on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. All of the female country music singers I’d seen on television or in pictures were in frilly dresses with sequins and had long, flowing hair. At that young age, I was very discouraged about all of it.”
Thankfully, she overcame this ridiculous stereotype. But it’s unfortunate that when some people think of lesbian athletes, they automatically picture masculine women. Lesbian athletes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and looks … so do lesbians … so do straight women.
I’m glad that Wright realized that she could be true to herself in both her sexuality and image, and be a successful country singer at the same time. I’m not too sure that Billy Jean King will see this as a compliment, however.
Blogger Bio: Lyndsey D'Arcangelo is a versatile writer, having experience as a journalist, copywriter, author, freelancer and blogger. She is the author of the Golden Crown Literary Society Award-winning book, The Trouble with Emily Dickinson (also a Lambda Literary Award finalist). Her recent novel, The Crabapple Tree, was published in May 2009. In addition to writing short stories and novels, Lyndsey also contributes regularly to a variety of national and local publications. Visit lyndseydarcangelo.com for more information.