Dolly Parton is talking to Pride Source about her LGBT bona fides, including the first time she ever heard about gay people:
As I started to be a teenager there were a couple of guys downtown that everybody was sayin' were queer, ya know? I know they often said that about anybody who was odd or different - "they're just queer, just strange and odd" - but the way they would talk about these two guys they would say, "Well, they're sissies, they're girls." I was a teenager then. But in my early days we did not know (what gay was). It didn't take me long to know that people were different and that was always fine with me 'cause I was different too, and I embraced and accepted them and I knew them. I knew them well. But no, in my early days I did not know. But I know a lot of them now! I have a huge gay and lesbian following and I'm proud of 'em, I love 'em and I think everybody should be themselves and be allowed to be themselves whoever they are, whatever they are.
She told writer Chris Azzopardi that her gay circle these days is wide:
You know what, I have so many (gay) people in my companies. And later on, I did find out I have many gays and lesbians in my own family. We accept them, we embrace them. Oh, there are some in the mountains who still don't know quite what to make of it or how they should feel about it, but they're ours and they're who they are and we know they're wonderful and they're like us. We love the fact that they are who they are and we nurture that. We don't try to make them feel separate or different. We embrace it.
Dolly is currently on her Pure & Simple Tour.
(Image via DollyParton.com)