Country music singer Billy Gilman came out as gay to his fans and the public in a YouTube video he shared on Thursday.
Gilman is a country singer who became famous in 2000 at the age of 11 with his hit song "One Voice." Today, he opened up to fans about his personal life in a five-and-a-half minute video.
"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," Gilman said on the video. "But it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that I'm in a genre and an industry that's ashamed of me for being me."
Gilman said there have been rumors in Nashville about his sexuality. Despite selling millions of records, Gilman knew "something was wrong" when some major labels shunned him and his newest album. He spoke bluntly about the atmosphere in the country music business towards gay people. "Being a gay male artist in Nashville is not the best thing."
He said he also decided to come out because he was afraid of being outed in the media. Gilman has been with his current boyfriend for five months and he said he was with him recently at a festival and ran into a reporter he was scheduled to do an interview with. The reporter took a photo of the two men together and Gilman said in that moment "I knew that I'd rather it be from me than you reading it somewhere else."
Gilman said he has had difficulty finding a way to come out but was inspired when he learned Ty Herndon also came out as gay on Thursday. Gilman congratulated Herndon on his announcement as well.
"Now that I have finally found my place as a person, that only makes the music that much better," he said.