“Nashville” Actor Chris Carmack Says The Stigma Of Being A Gay Country Singer is “Insurmountable”

nashvilleChrisCarmackx350People I’ve spoken to say that at a certain level it’d be career suicide for somebody to come out of the closet. That’s a terrible kind of fame. I don’t think executives would give Will the time of day. That’s a damn shame, but in country music there’s a stigma that’s insurmountable.”


Chris Carmack, who plays closeted Will Lexington on ABC’s Nashville, asked if it’s possible to be a success as an out country singer, in an interview with Out

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #chriscarmack #inquotes #nashville stories and more


  • Alan down in Florida

    If ABC and the producers of Nashville had the cojones to truly pursue the story line and have “the closeted Will” succeed on the basis of his talent and not his sexuality it would go a long long way to changing the dynamic. Even in the red states the 18-34 demographics are getting more and more “gay friendly.” The bottom line is we are everywhere including Nashville and it takes just one to knock down the door which is already ajar.

    Sadly the season premiere of Nashville the TV show uses the story line to portray Will as an tragedy waiting to happen and someone will be hurt when will finally explodes.

  • sportsguy1983

    He is probably right in the short and medium term, but not in the long term.

  • Daniel-Reader

    “Country music” is just lite pop music these days. Actual country music the way it was 30 years ago is dead as a market, and went away with the show Hee-Haw. Anyone can make it in modern “Country music” – gay, bi, straight, male, trans, female – especially since traditional distribution channels for music have changed drastically, allowing any artist to create a following. So musicians should follow their hearts and perform great music.

  • hyhybt

    Right now, it probably depends on whether you’re out first, or if you become a big success and *then* come out. They’re not likely to drop someone who’s already bringing in the money, at least so long as that keeps happening.

  • erasure25

    What about Steve Grand? How big is his following?

  • tardis

    @erasure25: That’s true, but then again, Grand’s following is young and representative of the time. The “country” that Carmack is talking about is that traditional Loretta Lynn, conservative, God loving crowd and not the Taylor Swift progressive crowd.

  • Architect8488

    I live in Nashville and it’s actually an incredibly open community and very forward thinking. It’s the demographic of consumers that country music sells to that would ostracize a homosexual in the industry..not the city or the industry itself. Nashville and Memphis were the only places to go Blue the last two elections. We are an island of Blue in a sea of very Red thinkers. Don’t put us in the same category as the rest of the South. We are actually becoming very friendly very quickly. I wish it were as great for LGBT to live here as say Atlanta, but most cities below the Mason Dixon Line can’t hold a candle to that Southern Gay Metropolis.

  • Stacy

    Let’s not forget that k.d. lang has been performing for decades, with appearances on shows like “Hee-Haw” and at the Grand Ole Opry. She was never one who matched the looks of the typical female country stars of the time, and I can remember clearly when I was 20, seeing her on Hee-Haw and commenting to my stepmom that I believed she was a lesbian. Her coming out didn’t seem to damage her career.

    I do realize that there is (or at least was) a major double-standard in acceptance of lesbians versus gay men in entertainment, but having watched the slow tide of change moving in, I think it’s time.

  • Aric

    A gay country singer would do fine.

  • Lawayne

    @Tardis, I am 49 years old and love Steve’s music, so not all his fans are twinks.

  • tdx3fan

    @Alan down in Florida: I am not sure anyone would bennefit from such a mythological representation of country music. In a world where radio air time is everything and the average station would rather play an hour from FoF or FRC than a song ahout two guys hugging, it is quite obvious that being gay as well as successful in country music is an oxymoron.

  • tdx3fan

    @Daniel-Reader: What world do you live in. There is a HUGE difference between making it big and having a flash in the pan single hit. If artists did not still need labels then labels would not exist. Country music, predominately, does not appeal to the younger generations. Nor does the image of country stars. A great comparison would be Glambert and Steve Grand. Grand is easily more talented, but Glambert will always be more successful for one reason…. image. Glambert is queen of the bitches with a chip on his shoulder and that resignates much better with angsty teens than the good Catholic boy that Grand portrays.

  • tdx3fan

    @erasure25: Steve Grand will be the first to tell you he is not country. He is a flash in the pan. He is too inocent for the pop world and too gay for the country world. Not to mention, two songs on youtube with 2 million hits is impressive but is hardly a musical career.

  • tdx3fan

    @Stacy: She is not the first, last or only lesbian in country music. I would argue that Chelley Wright is probably more well known. Although, her break up with one of the hottest men in country music is probably more well known than her music.

  • marc sfe

    @tdx3fan: I’ve been listening to country since before seat belts were mandatory in cars. That said, I’d never heard of Chelly until she came out and frankly, not heard a lot of her since. k.d. though keeps being written about and in the news; most recently her upcoming stint on Broadway not to mention her opening at the Winter Olympics in Canada.

  • rtripboy

    The place change has to happen first is not in Nashville. It’s a country radio stations. In particular, Iheart radio, owner of a vast number of stations.

    If these folks had the balls to just play the music based on the music and ignore the few complaints they would get, this problem would not be insurmountable..

  • Daggerman

    …the main thing here is in that part of the world being GAY is completely terrifying and must be hell. I feel for him not just because he’s a cute blond hunk and an actor playing a role, but the hard facts of being in the closet is for me really incredible. It makes me believe there must be hundreds of men in the closet not just in the music industry but in many different walks of life. It’s actually annoying and horrible being Gay because of the ridiculous unfair, judgmental, ignorant people unwilling to sympathize…I despise heterosexuals, (though not all) mainly because they always without fear can show their affections in public to one another and therefore it’s completely easy for them lives…

  • Jaroslaw

    Dagger – Everyone has problems, just not the same ones. It certainly is easier for heteros in the public affection department, but a lot of hetero women would say it is much easier to be a man than a woman even now. Just a thought.

  • pscheck2

    In time; everything in time! (Now, I would like to speculate which ones are gay or at least bi!)

  • Liam

    Being outed ruined Ty Herndon’s singing career in the 90’s

  • Jara

    um every major singer in country is gay.
    granted they all play straight, but the point is…
    theyre all gay.
    As an actor, he probably knows that so i dont get why he would say something that affirms an illusory perception to people.
    While i understand, it IS a betrayal to the community, whod feel so hurt if they knew just how gay the celebrity world is. It is integral that, without outing people in mainstream society, we somehow let our people know that entertainment is an all gay operation.

Comments are closed.