Country Singer Billy Gilman Comes Out as Gay in Personal YouTube Video
"It's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this, knowing that because I'm in a genre in an industry that is ashamed of me for being me"
Country singer Billy Gilman came out as gay online Thursday, hours after fellow country act Ty Herndon revealed he was gay as well.
The former child country star — best known for 2000's tender "One Voice" — broke the news in a personal video posted to YouTube, addressing his fans with obvious nervousness. "Today a fellow country artist and friend made it easier for me to make this video," he says in the clip. "And I wanted my fans who have stuck by me for many, many years to know."
Gilman tells a story of being caught by a reporter in Rhode Island at a local fall festival while he was there with his partner, "somebody who I am now, happily, sharing my life with," he says. "And this reporter took a picture of us. And it was in that moment that I knew that I'd rather it be from me than you reading it somewhere else and probably filled with not-truth."
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The singer continues, with an explanation of how difficult it is to be a gay country singer and how he has felt prejudice in Nashville based on rumors over his sexuality.
"Being a gay male country artist is not the best thing," he says. "If people don't like your music, that's one thing. But after selling over five million records, having a wonderful life in the music industry, I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff. … It's difficult for me to make this video, not because I'm ashamed to be a gay male artist, or a gay artist, or a gay person, but it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this, knowing that because I'm in a genre in an industry that is ashamed of me for being me."
Gilman thanks Herndon as well, who he says he's "known and been a fan of, and congratulations on such a courageous effort."
"I've been going back and forth on how to approach this, and rather than do it on some talk show, I thought I'd do it in front of a simple camera, very personal," Gilman says. "I've been an advocate for so many things in my life. I thought now why not be an advocate for me and for the cause that I believe in with my whole heart."
This post originally appeared on Billboard.com.