Dolly Parton’s following includes a huge number of LGBT fans. There’s a lot of general talk of tolerance and love at a Dolly Parton concert, but has she ever actually helped a gay person?
In an interview this month with Pride Source, that’s pretty much the only question posed. Interviewer Chris Azzopardi says he only got 11 minutes with Dolly, and he used most of them to talk about her views on “the gays,” a term she repeats several times. You can decide for yourself how offended you are by that.
When Dolly was a teen living in those smoky mountains, she had no idea what being gay meant or was, except for two fellas in town who everyone called “queer,” but not in a strange way. Obviously, she got the hell outta there, and says, “I know a lot of them now! I have a huge gay and lesbian following and I’m proud of ‘em, I love ‘em and I think everybody should be themselves and be allowed to be themselves whoever they are, whatever they are.”
She goes on to explain how she, personally, has lead many a secretive LGBT person into the light and out of the closet:
Because you’ve always been so LGBT-affirming, are you a safe place for them to open up about their sexuality?
Yes! Actually, I’ve had many people through the years who I have helped to feel good about themselves. 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.”
I have a couple of transgender people in my company who are on salary with me, so I am totally open for that. And a lot of people feel like they can come to me... and they do! Whether it’s about being gay or whatever, a lot of people do me like they used to do my mama and come to talk to me about things. Hopefully I’m able to help. I think I have.
Oh, Dolly! I am blinded by my adoration for her, so perhaps this is the most self-aggrandizing nightmare statement of all time. But I can also imagine that if Dolly Parton told me to be true to myself it would feel like a message from God. Maybe insert your most idolized pop culture figure into this story and again, decide for yourself.