In a lengthy interview with The Boot, country music star Shelby Lynne delicately danced around the issue of her sexuality, often speculated upon by fans and media alike. Gay interviewer Stephen L. Betts "had the balls" to ask the question outright. Lynne launched into a lengthy explanation about how she doesn't like labels, but wants everyone to love who they want to love. We won't point out that these are the exact type of verbal gymnastics typical of those hoping to stay closeted… Nope. We're not going there.
Check out Lynne's response to being asked to identify herself in terms of her relationship orientation:
"Let me put it to you this way," Lynne said. "I've been around the world and back so many times, I think everybody's gay. Everybody's a little gay. As far as my personal life, I don't go into details because that's all I've got. With the person that I allow out in the music, that's plenty. But I am secure enough to say that of all of my relationships, I've covered the boundaries. [laughs] I don't think there's any need anymore in our time and era for titles or brands... because either way you try to sensitize it, somebody's going to be offended. So the best thing to do is just be who you are and be proud of it and hopefully everybody can love who they want to love. I certainly wouldn't want to offend anybody who is gay and out and all that kind of stuff. It's not my concern what other people do. It's only my concern about how I conduct myself. I believe in a person's privacy. Not everything has to be announced. Why state the obvious? There's a curiosity about a lot of people's sexuality but you also have to respect that not everybody wants to sit around and talk about it."
Interviewer Betts points out that the ability to own one's identity can be a powerful example for others who are unable or unwilling to live their truth. To which Lynne responds, "OK, good point. So I will stress, even more importantly, it's not what you want to announce to the world — and if you do, that's great — but you don't have to. You don't have to be labeled something, in society's terms. You just need to be. That's what I would tell young'uns and people that are struggling, who say, "I know I'm gay but I can't come out because of my family or whatever." Just decide. You don't have to be under any rules. It's OK to be a freak. Be proud of your freak-ism, man. Haul it on out there. I see a change in the universe. Maybe it's just me, but as hard as it is to watch the news and see the misunderstanding that people have as they judge other people and their lives — that's, right there, the word — judgment. We can't do that to each other because it doesn't matter. Come over to my house and eat some tomatoes. I don't care who you love. It's about eating tomatoes together. I feel bad for kids that have that struggle. There's only so much hiding you can do until you blow up. I see Nashville and how it's changed and there are these hip, cool places. Twenty years ago it was hard to find some cool places.
Wrapping up the subject, Lynne concludes, "I don't care about it anymore. I'm still not going to talk about my personal life. Who I'm fucking doesn't matter. But I'm not going to sit around and say I haven't experienced pretty much everything there is to experience, because I have, on purpose. I'm a curious human being. So I'll leave it at that."
Well, now we're the curious ones.