I think it's fair to say that Ty essentially outed himself publicly years ago, speaking, when indirectly questioned, as entertainment media was wont to do at that time, in the accepted code of the day.
For all of the timidity of the time, the message was always clear- except when Ty muddied it by suggesting he was rescued from his wayward public behavior- that which variously resulted in his being arrested and in the loss of his teeth- by curiously publicly embracing Christianity (of the variety that preaches homosexuality is a sin) and Christian music as country music all but abandoned him.
The intended message to his public - though Herndon never directly verbalized it- was that, for all of his internal struggles, Ty had prayed the gay away.
At a time when even some of the most zealous of those who once believed that was possible, indeed necessary, to pray the gay away now reject that belief, Herndon is making a calculated choice in an effort to revive his country-music career.
But Ty's story is incomplete, and there is not much to learn from it, without disclosure of the depth and scope of the singer's betrayal from the ex-wives who apparently continue to be satellite personalities in Herndon's reality show.
Conversely, A fair
assessment of BILLY GILMAN's career would be that going through
killed the momentum of what the public considered to be a little boy's
Billy was a victim of that unfortunate timing. The musical landscape is littered with one-hit wonders, most of whom did not retain essential momentum for reasons other than Gilman's unfortunate fate, or more accurately, the timing of Billy's morphing from charmed boyhood to awkward adolescence in what, outside the world of music, is greeted as a natural progression.
After Gilman emerged from his management-imposed musical hiatus, his resultant growth spurt and deepened voice essentially transformed him, in the minds of a fickle public with a limited memory and attention span, from a known quantity, in effect, to a new, unproven artist with plenty of competition for limited slots.
Billy's absence made his fan base's hearts grow fonder but country-music's larger audience, by that time, was looking for the next big thing. I'll concede Gilman has a point- Billy is hoping for acceptance from an audience that traditionally has either embraced or had no problem with homophobia- but he should be careful that he doesn't play the gay card to the point where it is an excuse for an unpleasant outcome that is just as easily arrived at due to other factors, some of which would be equally beyond Billy's control.
Again, on balance, I don't think Gilman's sexuality has much to do with what Billy perceives as resistance to Music Row taking him seriously as an adult.
reality is Billy
Gilman, while still a prodigy, is no longer a child and, since
resenting it will get him
nowhere, Gilman would be best served by welcoming the opportunity to
prove himself again.
I met Billy backstage at the height of his fame. As my colleagues and I clamored for what limited time he had available as his publicist led him around by the nose, Gilman saw none of the pecking order that sometimes comes into play in such situations. As a result, when he saw me being mistreated in an effort to accommodate a "more important" competitor, Billy respectfully reminded his (now former) publicist of who signed her check and spoke up in my defense and took charge of the situation.
That I remember Billy's kindness all these years later speaks to what I believe is the strength of Gilman's character.
Billy can hold to that strength as he deals with whatever blowback comes his way as a result of taking charge and outing himself on his own terms.
Perhaps some smart promoter can put together a package show, the Out and About Tour, with Billy, Ty Herndon and Chely Wright sharing the same stage now that the floodgates are opening with such force that, even among those who might desire it, it's past too late to turn back now.