Having grown up in the punk world, I know very little about country music, despite the fact that I grew up in the south. The Thunder Rolls, the Dixie Chicks and This Bike is a Pipe Bomb are the basics of my knowledge. However, upon searching for a lesbian-themed documentary for my Queer Film and Video class, I came across Wish Me Away, a very moving film about the journey of a closeted country singer who grew up in a religious home being taught that homosexuality was a sin that would send her to hell.
The documentary was filmed over a three year period and chronicles Chely's relationship with her religious family, her rise to success and her eventual televised coming out on the Today Show. It includes the subsequent backlash from the country music world, which means no longer being invited to the Country Music Awards. I don't know if this is a result of her being openly gay or if it's because she's no longer a chart topper. Either way, she SHOULD be invited to these kinds of events simply due to the fact that country music needs a prominent gay presence. Plus, what she did was very brave, considering the extremely conservative state of the country music world. Although she is exponentially happier and coming out put her in the spotlight again, she still has to deal with the fall-out of being openly gay in this community, which includes receiving hate mail and other vitriol like "shut up and sing".
Even if you are not into country music, and you don't give a damn about gay rights, this film is worth watching, because ultimately it's a human story. It has a universal theme of self-acceptance, and letting go of fear and sharing who you truly are with your friends, family and the world. I'm not big on doing film reviews, so just watch the trailer and then go watch the film on Netflix Instant.
(There is also a petition started by her fans to reinstate her to the Grand Ole Opry. She hasn't performed there since she came out in 2010.)
Here is the trailer: