Folk star Jenny Owen Youngs says she is a lesbian and announced plans to marry her fiancee this summer.
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The singer-songwriter has opened up about her sexuality in a letter published on Everyoneisgay.com, a website run by her partner, Kristin Russo, revealing the couple is making plans to cement its relationship by exchanging vows.
In the letter, Youngs admits she kept her sexuality secret as a teenager due to her conservative upbringing, and has finally decided to go public in a bid to inspire gay youngsters.
She writes, "I'm writing to tell you, among other things, that I am super gay. This may or may not come as a surprise to you. If it does: Surprise! If it does not: You were right all along! Either way: Hooray! I didn't want to come out. I don't want coming out to be a thing that anyone has to do... I just wish that being gay (or transgender, or asexual, or fill-in-the-blank here) was as unremarkable to the masses as being left-handed or blonde..."
She goes on to credit her fiance with giving her the courage to "come out," adding, "This summer I am going to marry my fiance. Her name is Kristin Russo and she is one half of the team behind EveryoneIsGay.com. Having a firsthand view of the work that she... (does) has been inspiring, and has also made me think more critically about my decision. What kind of a message does it send to a teenager when I avoid a question about my sexuality? Whatever the answer, I'm confident that it is no longer a message I am comfortable sending...
"You are not an anomaly. You are not a mistake. I am thankful that in recent years, it has become a bit more common for people from all walks of life to step forward and identify themselves as human beings who also happen to be gay. I am proud to offer my voice to that expanding chorus."