Country singers come out as gay

Country music singers Ty Herndon, left, Billy Gilman, right, have both come at as gay (AP Photo)

Country music star Ty Herndon now describes himself as "an out, proud and happy gay man."

Herndon tells People magazine he realized he has an incredible story that could possibly help someone's child or grandchild not to go through as much suffering as he has. Herndon, who's 51, says he came out to close family when he was 20. He was married twice and now has a longtime male partner, Matt.

Shortly after Herndon's announcement, country star Billy Gilman also came out as being gay. Gilman posted a message to YouTube, thanking Herndon for breaking the ice.

Tap/click here to view Gilman's announcement on the news app.

Gilman, who is now 26, said "being a gay, male country artist is not the best thing." Rumors have been swirling over his sexuality for a few years now, CNN reports, and he believes major music labels may have thumbed their noses at him over it.

"I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff," Gilman said.

As for Herndon, he says the country music business has been more accepting of homosexuality. Singer Chely Wright came out in 2010, and Herndon also points to Kacey Musgraves winning the CMA award for song of the year for "Follow Your Arrow."

Herndon says both he and his partner are practicing Christians and he believes, "We get to choose who we love, and that includes God, and he loves us back."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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