Happy Coming Out-iversary, Chely Wright!

July 2010 — Chely, a longtime supporter of the US military, speaks out against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” After Dan Choi’s dismissal from the Army National Guard, Chely became an advocate on behalf of all service members who had been discharged because of their sexual orientation.

August 2010 — Chely talks to AfterEllen.com about teaming up with legendary singer/songwriter/producer Linda Perry. She told us: “I was scheduled to sing at the [GLAAD Awards] and Clementine [Ford, Perry’s girlfriend] was there to give Cybill Shepherd, her mom, an award, along with another daughter of Cybill’s, who’s gay as well. We walked onto the red carpet and Clementine turned to me and grabbed my shoulder and said, “I’m so happy for you. I’m so proud of you.” Then Linda Perry walked by and [Clementine] said, “Do you know Linda?” and I said, “Oh s–t, you’re Linda Perry!”

November 2010 — Chely lends her voice to GLSEN’s “Safe Space” campaign, with the goal of providing coming out and anti-harassment resources to every middle and high school in America.

December 2010 — Chely performs “Like Me” on The Nate Berkus Show, where she also helps announce the opening of a safe home for LGBT youth in New York City.

January 2011 — Chely reveals a first look at her documentary “Wish Me Away,” a film by Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf that follows Chely on an emotional three-year journey as she prepared to go public with her sexuality.

April 2011 — Chely announces her engagement to Lauren Blitzer, telling AfterEllen: “We proposed to each other. Designed our rings together, too! I’m beyond lucky to get to share my life with Lauren.” The pair will wed on August 20th in Connecticut.

When Chely came out last year, I tried to combat some of the ambivalence by writing about the reasons it mattered, but even my own personal brand of super sunny optimism didn’t prepare me for the real impact Chely would have on the LGBT community. From her memoir to her album to her magazine interviews to her television appearances, Chely has been a picture of grace and authenticity. In a year riddled with gay-bullying and teen suicides, Chely Wright was the embodiment of the phrase “It Gets Better.”

On her one year Coming Out-iversary, we want to say thank you to Chely Wright for having the courage to come out in her own time, in her own way. And we want to wish her a lifetime of lesbian bliss.

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