Country Star Ty Herndon Comes Out as Gay In An Inspirational Burst of Honesty

It's a sad but true fact about today's society that being a member of the LGBT community still carries a lot of stigma that can put a black mark on a career almost as quickly as a nude picture scandal — and in a similarly unfair and unwarranted way. Thankfully, there are many celebrities who have overcome the fear of judgment or scorn to come out as gay and live an honest lifestyle that makes them happy. On Tuesday, country singer Ty Herndon came out as gay, and, from the sounds of his interview with People, he seems all the happier for it. This comes as a breath of fresh air to Herndon and, indeed, should come as a breath of fresh air to the fans that he has decided to be honest with. After all, this kind of honesty doesn't come easy.

"I'm an out, proud and happy gay man," said Herndon, who has an interview with Entertainment Tonight about his journey to acceptance scheduled for Thursday. "...I was 10, sitting in church and horrified that I might be a homosexual. Whatever that word meant, I knew that I probably was one. And I know there's a lot of those kids still out there. Telling my story is an opportunity to help just one of them. They can be loved by God, they can be married one day, they can have a family, they can give their parents grandkids. And they're not broken, they're not sinners and they're perfectly beautiful."

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Herndon slowly came out to his family members from the age of 20, according to USA Today, but decided to keep it a secret during his music career — which really took off during the mid-'90s with "What Mattered Most," "Living in a Moment" and "It Must Be Love." A huge struggle for Herndon is that the country music community — much like the rap community — remains a fairly homophobic place. Which is not to throw a blanket judgment over every single performer, or fan, of the genre, but simply to point out the simple truth that great strides still need to be made in order to be more welcoming to many different kinds of people.

"There's never been a song more affirmative of that in country music, and it's our CMA Song of the year. I felt so proud of my city. I hope that trend continues; I pray it does," says Herndon of Kacey Musgrave's win of a CMA for her LGBT-friendly hit "Follow Your Arrow." Now that he has decided to follow his own arrow and share that part of his personal life with the public, it's my sincere hope that they welcome him the same way that he is welcoming us into this side of himself. It's an incredibly brave and inspirational move for Herndon, and I'm sure that he has plenty of fans who are struggling in their own ways toward self-acceptance and public tolerance. The fact that those fans now have another entertainment icon to look up to, who shares their experience, is truly beautiful.

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