May 26 2010 12:00 AM

Country star is grand marshal for Pride March June 12

Not long ago, country singer Chely Wright feared that talking honestly about her sexuality would destroy her career. Earlier this month, with the publication of her autobiography, “Like Me,” she changed her mind.

"Country fans know me," Wright told Oprah Winfrey in an interview last week. "They already think I’m a heck of a gal, a patriot, a good girl, and I am a lesbian, and I have been the whole time."

Wright will be grand marshal of the Pride March June 12 in downtown Lansing; it’s part of the Michigan Pride Diversity Festival. The march begins at noon at Grand Avenue along Riverfront Park and proceeds south on Grand, west on Shiawassee Street and south on Capitol Avenue to the Capitol steps. A rally sponsored by Equality Michigan follows at 1 p.m. Wright is scheduled to sing a song there.

Wright is scheduled to perform at 3 p.m. at Old Town’s Burchard Park. She’ll do a CD and book sign- ing at 4 p.m. at the Pride Festival, which is a ticketed event. Monique Goch, Pride organizer and an insurance agent, said bringing Wright to Lansing wasMonique Goch, Pride organizer and an insurance agent, said bringing Wright to Lansing was originally little more than a whim.

“My partner, Krista Duffy, who’s the coordinator of the march, loves country music,” Goch said. “We heard a couple weeks ago that Chely was coming out nationally, and Krista said, ‘She’s really good. We should see if we can bring her to Pride.’ And I thought, ‘Fat chance of that!’”

But after some negotiations and fundraising, the deal was made.

Even though Wright is giving Michigan Pride a break on her fee, Goch said it will still cost in the five figures and that contributions would be more appreciated than ever. They can be sent to Michigan Pride, P.O. Box 22086, Lansing, Mich. 48909.

Chely Wright

p.m. Saturday, June 12 in Burchard Park as part of the Michigan Pride
Diversity Festival. A book and CD signing will follow at 4 p.m. For
more information, visit