Com­ing out at Nashville Pride

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Carl­ton’s al­le­giance to the LGBT com­mu­nity first blos­somed when she was an as­pir­ing dancer at just 13 years old, af­ter mov­ing to New York City and im­mers­ing her­self in queer cir­cles.

“I don’t look at the com­mu­nity as sep­a­rate from my life,” she said. “I was never able to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it be­cause I was just al­ways in it. My ado­les­cence was in that com­mu­nity, so I never really looked at it as some kind of spe­cialty com­mu­nity or ‘other.’”

Even though she de­scribes her­self as “pri­vate … but not weirdly pri­vate,” when Carl­ton played Nashville Pride – her first Pride fes­ti­val – a cou­ple of young women in the au­di­ence com­pelled the singer to come out pub­licly. Her rea­son for tak­ing that leap was sim­ple: She imag­ined them be­ing shunned by their par­ents for be­ing gay.

“I just wanted to con­nect with them,” she re­called.

Carl­ton con­tin­ues to reach out to fans on so­cial me­dia, post­ing about her cur­rent tour in sup­port of what’s ar­guably her best al­bum to date, “Liber­man,” but also the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­stant bar­rage of bad de­ci­sions, in­clud­ing the re­cently court-over­ruled im­mi­gra­tion ban.

Again, it’s per­sonal: “I have fam­ily that live in the Mid­dle East, and when I’m see­ing sto­ries of these fam­i­lies be­ing di­vided and the chil­dren be­ing de­tained for five hours in the air­port be­cause it’s some­thing our pres­i­dent did – that is when I will high­light and com­mu­ni­cate to strangers about how I feel.”

Be­cause “ev­ery day or ev­ery week there’s a new threat to some­thing,” Carl­ton hasn’t been as out as she thinks peo­ple should be right now, she re­al­izes dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion.

“I haven’t high­lighted that fact about my­self,” she ad­mit­ted, point­ing to her lack of out­ness on her so­cial me­dia. “Ev­ery Amer­i­can that be­lieves in rights for all, they should be out – and not just out sup­port­ing, but shar­ing, ‘This is who I am.’”

Shift from ‘A Thou­sand Miles’

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