Fans Petition Grand Ole Opry to Reinstate Chely Wright
According to her fans, it’s high time for the Grand Ole Opry to invite Chely Wright to their stage again. The former Opry darling hasn’t performed there since she came out publicly as a lesbian in 2010.
Wright first performed on the Opry in 1989, and became a fixture, playing there routinely. She scored a No. 1 hit single with ‘Single White Female’ in 1999, and followed up in 2004 with the Top 40 hit ‘The Bumper of My SUV,’ a song about military support. She was named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001, and has lent her support to a number of military and charitable causes over the course of her career.
Wright’s fans have started a petition to reinstate her to the Opry, asking supporters to add their online signatures to a pre-written statement.
“We music fans believe The Grand Ole Opry should invite [Wright] back to the stage,” the petition reads in part. “Have you forgotten her contribution to the industry? Not only has she written hit songs for herself. She was written for and co-written songs with many of your current performers and members.
“We signed this petition to show she still has support in Nashville and around the world. Many still recognize her talent and contribution to the industry.”
Though Wright has been outspoken about how she feels the country music industry has abandoned her since she came out, she also says that she doesn’t carry hard feelings.
“I don’t wallow around in any lack of public support by my industry,” she said in an interview with the Nashville Scene last year. “The headlines that get picked up and the sound bites suggest that I’m devastated, but I’m not really that hurt by it. … I’d love to see some real public support for the LGBT community from my industry.”
Wright says she’s received some private support from industry people in Nashville, but there’s a long way to go. “I do think that there are homophobic people in the industry — some of them in power,” she continues. “I feel that the greatest setback that plagues the country music industry is their collective fear of the consumer’s expected homophobia. I call this fearphobia. The industry is afraid of the record buying public’s fear of gays and lesbians. They’re afraid of fear. And that fear is enough to cause silence. And it’s deafening, if you ask me.”
Check out the petition at change.org.