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I sought out organizations, in particular GLSEN, because I know of the great work they do with young people.I tracked down Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, and I had been working with them on the down low before I came out and made certain that the minute I came out, I could hit the ground running with them so I could be a voice for young people.Wright sat down with Diversity Inc’s Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Barbara Frankel at our black-tie event in Washington, D. 8 to talk about her revealing memoir “Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer,” where the 39-year-old singer describes her personal struggle to hide her own sexualityand the day she hit rock bottom and nearly took her own life. Below are excerpts from the interview: Frankel: You came from a very traditional background. Can you tell us about your early life, why you chose country music as a career and when you first realized you were a lesbian Wright: Yes, I did come from a very traditional background. It’s very conservative and it suited me just fine because it matched my childhood.I grew up in a small town in Kansas and in a very church-going, slow-moving farm community, population 1,200.For some reason that night, I didn’t pull the trigger.I went upstairs and slept a few hours and got up the next morning, and I was terrified to go downstairs where that nine-millimeter gun was sitting on my mantle and all of this was happening in my home in downtown Nashville.And there began the struggle and there began the hiding and the fear and the stress, and that stress began at a very young age, and I hid until May 4, 2010.Frankel: How did it feel to live two separate lives Wright: I’m not assuming anyone in the audience is like me. But I want to address anyone in the audience who has a secret.
I am not a person who is predisposed to depression I was senior-class president. My love of music and the country-music career I had built and this other very real part of me who is a gay woman, I didn’t know how to make those two fit and I nearly committed suicide.
I’m on the national board of GLSEN and I want to tell [the audience] something else.
We pay some of our speakers an honorarium for coming. Wright: Quite frankly, I had to go through a physical and emotional and spiritual fortification to prepare to come out publically.
I have a lot of friends there in Nashville, and one of the things that happens when you hide is that nobody really knows you. I see a couple of heads nodding in the audience; you know what I’m talking about.
Perhaps you know someone who has done this, but no one knew I was in crisis. I didn’t know if I could go downstairs and not pull that trigger, and I got on my knees and I prayed.