Friday, May 21, 2010

Chely Wright & Tonéx Are Free

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Two Singers I'd Never Have Known Otherwise

This evening, Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady," U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," Soul II Soul's "Get a Life," America's "Ventura Highway," Chaka Khan's "Papillon," Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and more accompanied my 2.5-hour soil-shoveling in service to our newest, emerging garden in our backyard.

Before reading Tonéx's story in "The New Yorker" some months ago, and then reading excerpts of Chely Wright's interview and story in "Curve," I had never heard of either, though in their genres, they were super-popular, and then both of them came out as gay and lesbian respectively.

Tonéx's tale touched me, especially after I saw this hit of his. I watched it over and over, marveling at his sexiness, voice, the beat, and the theme ("He won't fail you...")....

Similarly, I saw Chely Wright as exciting when I watched her hit, "Single White Female." Typically, I'm not a Country music fan, other than Dolly Parton's music, like "Hard Candy Christmas" and "Travelin' Through," but I was thrilled to see that someone so apparently different was like me after all. That's the name of her newly-published memoir: *Like Me*.

Chely Wright mentioned that she knew of her lesbianism by 3rd grade. She beat me; I wasn't fully self-aware till 6th grade. In Chely Wright's case, she was ready to kill herself just four years ago, when she was 35, tired as she was of her closet. In my case, beginning at age 36, I tried to have a baby, having been too internally-homophobic to try prior; I worried about the baby, having two mothers. By the time I got over that concern, as I've written here before, I was unable to conceive after nine tries, and gave up ultimately, figuring that God had other plans.

Now, Chely Wright says she's ready to be an ambassador for the gay, lesbian, bi and trans (GLBT) community, no matter what happens to her singing career. Tonéx got to that point, too. Their stories remind me of a recent invitation:

At work, those of us who are openly G, L, B or T, have been called to serve by writing letters to our younger selves, to be published on the front page of our company's internal web site on June 1st, in honor of GLBT Pride Month. I've been hesitant to be so public about my life-story within our official company web site. Here, I don't mind being so at all, as this is my blog, not my company's.

Will I feel even more free, like Chely Wright and Tonéx, if I write and submit the letter?


Joybells said...

I vote yes!

Sarah Siegel said...

Joy, thanks for your encouragement. Here's a draft: