Billy Gilman Comes Out as Gay, Calls Out Country Music Industry to Support Gay Artists
"How should I say this?" Gilman says in a YouTube video, above, that he posted to his Facebook page. "It's taken me a good many weeks to figure out how I was to approach this video ... but today, actually, a fellow country artist and friend made it easier for me to make this video, and I wanted my fans, who have stuck by me for many, many years, to know."
Gilman explains that recently, a reporter who he was scheduled to do an interview with spotted him with his partner, who Gilman has been with for about five months, and took a picture.
"It was in that moment that I knew that I'd rather it be from me than you reading it somewhere else," he says. "Rather than do it on some talk show, I would do it just in front of a simple camera, very personal."
The singer, who had a massive hit with 'One Voice' in 2000 and recently released a new single, also calls out the country music industry.
"In recent years, when I did come back to Nashville, there were rumors, you know, is he or isn't he? And for many that know Nashville ... being a gay male country artist is not the best thing," Gilman says. "If people don't like your music that's one thing ... I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff.
"It's difficult for me to make this video, not because I'm ashamed of being a gay male artist or a gay artist or a gay person," he adds, "but it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that because I'm in a genre and in an industry that is ashamed of me for being me."
However, Gilman says there are some artists who he has felt support from.
"I want to say that literally all of the country artists that I grew up in front of -- Keith Urban and Vince [Gill] and LeAnn Rimes and all of these wonderful friends of mine -- have been nothing but supportive," he continues. "Not that they knew, but they have just been such wonderful people, and now recently Ty Herndon, who I've known and been a fan of."
Gilman also took the time to thank his fans for their love and support.
"I can honestly say that I'm scared to death, but I thank each and every one of you for your support," he says. "I will always strive to be the best artist that I can be, and now that I have finally found my place as a person, that only makes the music that much better.
"And I know some people won't agree with this, and that's OK," Gilman adds. "To each his own."
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