There is a new Dolly Parton show, Heartstrings, out Netflix as of this last Friday. Each episode is based on one of her songs, including “Two Doors Down,” which is centered around LGBTQ themes and features a gay couple.
Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, premiered every episode, and unfortunately, there was a walkout with the reveal of this episode when it became clear that Ty and Cole were in love. This walkout reflects the struggles that are prevalent within our own communities, which is the reason for this special focus in the episode. Even in 2019, LGBTQ folks are still struggling for acceptance in many areas, sometimes within their communities, sometimes within their own families, and clearly, sometimes in more conservative areas of the world at large.
Screenwriter Mark B. Perry spoke to website NewNowNext about the episode. He claimed, “I was told by Dolly herself [that she] wanted to do an LGBTQ-inclusive episode based on the fact that she has such universal appeal.”
It isn’t surprising that Parton is loved far and wide by all, nor that the face of country music and its fans are expanding. With over 40 years of experience in the music industry, Parton has been warm and welcoming, singing abbot a wide range of life, but she isn’t the only out queer ally in the country music scene anymore.
From the 73-year-old, five-foot-tall blonde powerhouse to the electric energy of out, queer artist Lil Nas X revealing the hit Old Town Road, country music has allies and representatives to strengthen and give fire to the community. So, while there are still challenges for both recognition and acceptance, it isn’t coming from the industry, but instead from some areas where people are still slow to love or understand. Look out for even more queer, rainbow-welcoming moments from the country music community in years to come.