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What Chely Wright’s Father Said When Ellen DeGeneres Came Out on TV

Chely Wright’s coming our tour ain’t no sprint, it’s a marathon, baby! So there she was on Ellen yesterday, reliving her “I’m gay, everbody!” tale, and told the talk show host about her father’s reaction to Ellen coming out. He changed the channel and said, “That’s gross.”

We all know Chely’s father Stan is now an All-Star Parent for the way he handled his own daughter’s coming out, and crafted his own catchphrase: “Do not close the door, but open a heart.”

By:           editor editor
On:           May 28, 2010
Tagged: , ,

  • 13 Comments
    • Samwise
      Samwise

      Oh great, now I’m crying.

      Chely has to stop talking about her dad right now or I’ll be a blubbering mess every time I visit Queerty. And you can’t properly ogle hot guys through misty eyes, dammit!

      May 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Geoff M
      Geoff M

      @Samwise: Just an opinion but your comment was really adorable. How great to see something genuinely nice in QUEERTY’s comments!

      May 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • yal
      yal

      Agree with Geoff, that was a very sweet comment Samwise, refreshingly positive.

      Her story is incredible, especially the turnaround with her father. Love it.

      May 29, 2010 at 12:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KWil
      KWil

      Call it “journalism”, but I’m really upset with how I think you handled this story.
      It’s not fair or easy to live with homophobic parents, or to be scared of the people you love the most in your life. But whether you like it or not it took a lot of courage for Stan to give up all he let himself know about homosexuality, to accept his daughter. It is amazing, regardless of the views he used to have, that he has shed his hate and disgust for love. Why revel in spiting a changed man.
      I’m 19, I’ve finally decided to accept myself, I’m in the process of coming out.
      I’m scared as fuck!!!
      I am most scared of my parents, but I love them so goddamned much I will do all I can to change their views, because their love for ME is still there. I have been given so much hope by Chely’s story, by her father, because I want the same for my own life.
      So why is the focus of this story on what Stan said over a decade ago? Its so discouraging to read a snarky attempt to undermine a man’s journey. Who cares if he was homophobic, he’s not serving a life sentence for it, and he is doing all he can to be a model parent. Can’t somebody like me have faith in a changed man, or do I have to cave in to the fear that you are right, that my own father and mother are monsters for what they believe. Maybe I’m reading this article entirely wrong. I hope I am, but if I’m right, shame on you queerty.

      May 29, 2010 at 1:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • n2dwoodz
      n2dwoodz

      KWil
      Congratulations on your coming out process, it can be an extremely tough process, especially for people from the midwest and/or from conservative backgrounds, even today in 2010. I do think that you missed the point of the article & perhaps the interview.
      As you stated, it is awesome that Chely’s father has accepted her. This does not discount her experience growing up in an environment that was homophobic. The statement made by her father is improtant and necessary for the story because it illustrates the challenges she faced in coming out, and how people can change. Chely mentioned the “snarky comment”, and how Stan’s intolerance impacted her relationship with him, therefore it is important at least in the context of her story. Best of luck with your process.

      May 29, 2010 at 2:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KWil
      KWil

      I know the interview itself was beautiful. I’m kinda confused though, I read this articles title, then finishes off that way it just seems like this blog post is meant to point out hypocrisy in a guy who is being praised as an accepting parent. Homophobia is traumatic in a childhood, but I would hope to think the right heart can be forgiven, but I could just be too optimistic. It is important that Chely brought up her fathers homophobia in the context of her own interview, I just don’t think I stand with this post bringing it up in the context of their own purposes, if that purpose is to presently discredit an ex-homophobic parent. I’m not gonna lie, stuff can get bitchy round here and its upsetting if this article is in that vein. Perhaps it just needs a few more words, but I guess I’ll just have to take the best of it with a grain of salt :/

      May 29, 2010 at 9:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
      Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

      @KWil:

      KWil: I came out at 20; was home for the weekend, watched the 49ers (home team) win the Super Bowl, and had “the talk.” I was scared as shit; I had a close friend Tom and we picked that day to tell our parents — mutual support.

      My dad was great! Before I left that night, he gave me a really big hug, and asked, “Are you happy now?” I replied, “Relieved and very happy.” He continued, “Don’t let anybody tell you different. Its your life and enjoy it your way. And if anyone, any of your brothers (I have 4) have a problem, thats their problem. Your feelings, wants, desires are as legitimate and every body else. If you are happy, what more could I want for you!” (Okay, its been 30 years, but thats how I remember things.) I started to cry and he gave me another really big hug. My mom, on the other hand, was pretty bummed, and I think pretty bummed that my dad was so cool about it. While she didn’t get into any kind of hissy fit about me coming out, she never really embraced me for who I am.

      Sadly, my friend Tom did not fare as well. His parents thought that his big conversation was that he was going to inform them that he was entering the priesthood! My shoulders absorbed a lot of his tears that night. I remember when driving to his place but not knowing what had transpired, I thought we should go to the Steamworks to celebrate. Oh well, saved that for another night; he needed a mega dose of TLC.

      Allow me to share one of my favorite Dad stories. My dad was an in the heat of battle WWII Navy grunt vet; considered a man’s man, tall, lanky, dark and handsome. When I came to work the Monday after meeting someone special, my dad looked at me over the coffee machine, and said, “You’ve met someone. Who is he?” Two years later, when I told my dad that my BF was moving in with me, he said, “Well, don’t fuck it up; I really like him!” That was 22 years ago and we are happily married and together.

      My boyfriend/now hubby, came out just after we met. It was 3 years of “hell fire” letters and calls. His mom, though, went to see a counsellor, and she came to terms accepting him/us. His parents are born-again Christians, yikes, and there have been drama the whole time. Today, things are great with his mom, kind of still fucked up with his dad.

      Remember, if things start out at the bottom, well they came only go up. With their support or not your parents’ support, you will be a bigger man for being true to yourself.

      Best wishes kiddo.

      May 29, 2010 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joey O'H
      Joey O'H

      What a great interview with Ellen. It was warm, from the heart and it meant something. I found this interview much more heart felt, insightful and I hope young gay kids were watching and listening.

      May 29, 2010 at 10:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joey O'H
      Joey O'H

      KWil: First congrats on deciding to come out. Yes, it is scary a shit. But you will come top. It’s not an easy road but you will find your path. Hang in there!

      May 29, 2010 at 10:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drresol
      drresol

      KWil: I think it is important to highlight the dad’s past as well as his present state. Specifically, for someone in your position right now (kudos on coming out, btw, and best of luck to you).

      Speaking from personal experience, parents and loved ones can be very homophobic. And not only that, sometimes they don’t always immediately give that up once their child comes out. Unlike Chely’s dad, some can hold onto it for years afterward. But the good news is that, like Chely’s dad, they CAN come around sooner or later, no matter how strong their negative feelings might have been or how deeply ingrained.

      That’s why I think it’s important to highlight his past feelings. If you only showed the finished product, it would only be presenting half the story to young people still in the closet. They need to know how he felt in the past; so that if they see similar feelings in their own loved ones it can give hope that change can occur. Heck, it gives me hope…I can out 4 years ago and my own dad still clings to negative beliefs similar to those expressed by Mr. Wright. Knowing that he changed gives me hope that maybe (someday) dad will change, too.

      May 29, 2010 at 10:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cheryl Wright = ZZZ's (John From England)
      Cheryl Wright = ZZZ's (John From England)

      @Mike in Asheville, nee “in Brooklyn”
      Jeez, I know I’m going to get those arrows thrown down but what the hell, I prefer YOUR story!

      Way to go and really cool that you two are still together. That’s incredible and really humbling.

      May 29, 2010 at 11:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jeffree
      jeffree

      Chely’s story about her dad is important because it shows how even the most homophobic parent can eventually “come around” to embracing their lgb offspring.

      My aunt runs a beauty salon in the middle of nowhere, near where I grew up. During cuts, color, perms, weaves, the TV is tuned to Oprah, Ellen, and the news (house rule: no soap operas!).
      The women watch & discuss the shows. Theyre not shy about expressing an opinion That happens in Beauty Boutiques (!) across the heartland.

      Those talk shows do more to influence attitudes than any Gay Inc org. Chely may not be an A list celeb, but us “hicks” can relate to her. Moms around the country get the message that “just folks” can deal with their kids coming out.

      Thanks Ellen and Chely & Chely’s pop, too.

      May 29, 2010 at 1:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KWil
      KWil

      @Mike, I can’t put any more gratitude into a string of 1’s and 0’s, but If I were standing in front of you I’d hug you in tears myself. I’ll commit your story to my heart, I couldn’t have asked for more hope and perspective from anyone I’ve told so far in my bittersweet walk. thank you so much.

      And thank you everyone!
      I think I’m on the right page now :)

      May 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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