Country music legend Dolly Parton – who has long been an icon for the gay community – is calling out her fellow Christians who are intolerant of the LGBT community.
“They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people. I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself,” Parton said in a recent interview with Billboard magazine.
“I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don’t think we should be judgmental. Lord, I’ve got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else,” she said.
The 68-year-old singer and actress has set herself apart from her country music brethren with her unabashedly progressive views on not just gay rights but gender equality too. Parton has been a trailblazer as a songwriter and as a businesswoman, having successfully launched her own theme park, Dollywood, which is based in Tennessee.
Earlier this year, she declared her support for gay marriage, joking that “they should suffer just like us heterosexuals.”
“I didn’t know any gay people in my childhood. I do have a lot of gays in my family now, but some will never come out,” the singer told Britain’s Event magazine in April. She had previously penned the Oscar-nominated theme song for the transgender-themed film “Transamerica” and in July she previewed a track called “Just a Wee Bit Gay” which is rumored to be a part of handful of pro-gay dance songs.
“It’s a great little dance tune, it’s funny and it’s got a lot of comic in it,” she told reporters at the time. “I do write a lot of songs along those lines with people that are different and are just themselves.”
In the same interview with Billboard, Parton imparted advice to women who are hoping to achieve the same level of success she has an entrepreneur.
“You need to really believe in what you’ve got to offer, what your talent is—and if you believe, that gives you strength. In my early days, I would go in, and I was always overmade, with my boobs sticking out, my clothes too tight, and so I really looked like easy prey to a lot of guys—just looked easy, period. But I would go in, and if they were not paying close attention to what I was saying, I always said, ‘I look like a woman, but I think like a man and you better pay attention or I’ll have your money and I’ll be gone,” she said.