Who’s Coming Out May 5th in People Mag? We Think We Know.

As you may know, a celebrity will be coming out on May 5th in People. We began speculating immediately, and the rest of the Internet has since conducted their own office pools, including 365 Gay, Queerty, Jezebel, Gawker and The Village Voice. This “coming out” is being orchestrated by PR powerhouse Howard Bragman, who strategically orchestrated the coming out parties of Meredith Baxter & Sheryl Swoopes, among others.

Partially we feel it’s a big trick, and we’re all gonna go buy People magazine, and it’s gonna be about Kim Kardashian‘s summer workout. But also this game has infused us with serious Harriet the Gayspy energy. 

Reader, this shit is FUN! We’re donning our Lesbian Lois Lane glasses, sleuthing about the internets with our magnifying glass aimed squarely at Queen Latifah‘s travel schedule and Johnny Weir‘s “music career.”  After a lengthy investigation, we’ve chosen our woman. Even if we’re wrong, we think that when it comes to our imaginary game of CLUE, we definitely got the right answer based on the evidence and clues available to us. Sorry, Professor Plum, maybe next time.

The Verdict? Shelby Lynne!

Exhibit A:

Cinco De Gayo’s Clues Match Shelby Lynne’s Evidence

1) Female? Check. Musician? Check.

2) A tipster told Jezebel: “A friend of mine who is high up at People told me that the ‘May 5’ celeb is a ‘female country singer’ and he didn’t even know her name and had to look it up, but he didn’t tell me who it is.

Our entire theory hinges on the veracity of that statement, and therefore our theory is potentially totally bogus.

The Dixie Chicks? We wondered for no particular reason. Dolly Parton? Well, we don’t know much about country music so we took to g-chat to consult a Country Music Expert (who incidentally finds Taylor Swift not country enough, just saying) who requested she not be named, lest Michael Musto source her or something. Take a gander:

me: do you know any in the closet country ladies

[redacted]: hmmmm

me: since youre from the country

[redacted]: what is this for

me: these are just the questions i ask myself sometimes

[redacted]: haha

[redacted]: dixie chicks?

me: yeah thought of that but which one? how many are there

me: also why would they be in the closet

me: republicans already hate them

[redacted]: really, why are you asking

me: http://jezebel.com/5526825/oddsmaker-which-celebrity-will-be-the-next-to-come-out

me: scroll down, last item

[redacted]: ahhhhhhhh

me: …questions i ask myself while reading jezebel

[redacted]: omg



me: OMG who

[redacted]: [link]

me: ping!


3) …which brings us to this theory, floated by Gawker in defense of Kelly Pickler: “The reason there’s so much buzz in advance could be because the announcement in and of itself won’t make that big of an impact. Bragman is orchestrating this, and he’s a PR veteran. If you get everyone talking about it ahead of time, the reveal will make it talk show worthy, even if it’s like one of the girls from Pussycat Dolls that no one’s ever heard of.”

Exactly. And Lynne’s been off the popular radar since I Am Shelby Lynne. What a day for a daydream/comeback!

4) The Mysterious Gay has been booked on several talk shows to do a “coming out tour,” including The View. This works with Shelby Lynne‘s tour schedule.

Shelby will be layin’ low in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 5, which’s only an hour from New York City (where The View is filmed at the buttcrack of dawn) by plane and eight hours by car. The next day Lynne hits lesbian hotspot Northampton, MA (three hours from NYC), followed by a series of Eastern tour dates (Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Virginia) including a May 10 stop in New York City.

Exhibit B: Shelby Lynne’s History of Being Gay, But Not Out


1) In November 2001 Shelby is interviewed by The Guardian UK and is furious when asked about her relationship with Betty Bottrell, the ex-wife of her producer, Bill, who has just left her husband and moved in with Shelby in Palm Springs (gay-friendly site of the legendary lesbian titsfest Dinah Shore Weekend!).

A few friends had told me they had heard Lynne has an open relationship with Betty. Was coming out a tough decision?
“Coming out what?”
As gay.
“Gay? I’ve never come out gay,” she says, shocked.
Oh sorry, I say.
“I’m sorry. Do I look gay?”
I tell her that I don’t know what it means to look gay.
“Even if I were gay, I wouldn’t tell you.”

(It gets worse from there.)

But really, Shelby Lynne has been dodging the sexuality questions for years… though she mysteriously continued speaking to the gay press anyhow. In 2005, Lynne tells Pridesource, which describes her as “openly gay” although she isn’t, “no one should be forced into “such an announcement.” In a 2008 Advocate interview, Lynne gets “downright combative” when the gay issue comes up, again stating she doesn’t ever want to “be a part of a group of people who have to make announcements about their personal life… it’s not anybody’s business who I sleep with or who I fuck.” In her ’08 Edge Boston interview, she answers the labels question with, “Honey, I’ve done it all — I go where the love is. That’s not any kind of news. I’ve never hidden anything. No need to read between the lines. Love comes in all kinds of flavors, doesn’t it?”

2) Her last release, in 2008, was a cover album of songs by bisexual Dusty Springfield. She’s also explicitly pointed out that she and Dusty have nothing in common. Whatever. Lady doth protest too much etc.

3) In January 2008, a New York Times Profile: “…then there were the gay rumors that dogged Springfield most of her career, which in her case turned out to be true, though she never used the word “lesbian” officially.”

4) However, she’s been more polite in her interviews for her new album, Tears Lies and Alibis, perhaps ’cause she knows it’ll all be out there soon enough! Last week, talking to SheWired, Lynne was cagey, but not defensive, when asked about her gay fan base: “I like reaching out to all my fans, lesbians or not, that’s all fine with me. I don’t give a damn who you sleep with. I just want you to like the music and come to the shows, and we’ll all be friends.”

Yesterday in a New York Magazine interview:

NY Mag: Have you had relationships with women who’ve tried to tie you down?
SL: I don’t talk about my personal life. But the relationships I’ve had have usually been with other musicians. It’s just easier that way.

Clearly she meant, “I don’t talk about my personal life” YET. Tip of the hat to you, Howard Bragman. TIP OF THE VELVET TO YOU.

5) We also found an interesting interview with out lesbian Alexandra Hedison (Ellen DeGeneres‘ ex-girlfriend and L Word actress) from a few years back. Alexandra directed a documentary about Shelby Lynne, and is also a part of that secret web of California Lezzies who all know about each other’s homosexuality. When asked, Alexandra denies reports that she and Shelby are together, but she seems unruffled by the homo suggestion itself:

FoA: Who is your favourite singer?

Alexandra: Shelby Lynne. I love her music.

FoA: I love Shelby too. I love her new tribute to Dusty Springfield album. You know, there is speculation that you and her are an item.

Alexandra: Oh really? Well, Shelby and I are not together. We’re great friends and have been for a long time. She’ll get a kick out of that – that’s funny.

FoA: You directed a documentary for her album ‘Suit Yourself’.

Alexandra: Yes. Is there any possibility you could get that for the site? I love it and I think it’s really her, too.

Part C: The Present & Future


1) New Album: Shelby Lynne just released a new album: Tears, Lies & Alibis. Perfect time for some extra publicity and a strategic moment for a comeback!

2) Newly Free Spirit: Lynne left her record label, Lost Highway, to record Tears Lies & Alibis. “I’ve never felt more free,” Shelby says of her mavericky decision to produce the album on her own label, Everso. See, Lost Highway “didn’t give a crap about the art.” Furthermore, she says, “I’ve never gotten more done. I don’t have to answer to anybody, or ask for anybody’s permission.”

GET IT? So now she’s not answering to anyone but her own VADGE AND THAT’S HOW WE LIKE IT.

In conclusion, if it’s not Shelby Lynne, she should really consider coming out next week because it would be a great moment! Also, we agree wholeheartedly with Gawker’s suggestion:Can we get everyone to promise that every year on May 5 someone famous will come out? It’ll be a new national holiday!”

Also, if we’re wrong, we won’t get any pudding, and we can live with that.

UPDATE #1: Our very own Autostraddle Hollywood Insider correspondent emailed our editor-in-chief Riese to insist that it is not Shelby Lynne. However she offers no other option, sooooooo…. red herring or truth, you decide, gumshoes.

UPDATE #2: Gawker, who picked up Autostraddle’s story today, has called Shelby’s publicist, who said ‘I have no information on that,’ which basically means it’s TRUE.

UPDATE #3: Queerty now also cites Lynne as the “running favorite.” Also they have a funny article about it in general which more or less echoes how we feel, we’re sort of already getting anxiety attacks about it.

SIDENOTE: Hey! Our editor Riese and writer Jess chime in on the gay rumors in this Cinco de Gayo Grace the Spot Roundtable, in which Riese throws Gloria Estefan into the ring of contenders.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3184 articles for us.


  1. Ah boo, that takes away all my fave guesses – K.Stew, Ryan Seacrest, Oprah.

    “and if we’re wrong”…what then? The article ends at that spot for me.

    • Seriously. I’m going to be pissed if People is making such a big deal out of a person no one outside of the country music fan base has heard of. Shelby Lynne, you are no Lance Bass.

  2. I don’t even know who she is. But I really hope you’re right because this is some amazing investigative work.

    • That was my second thought as well… (my first one was “WHO?”)

      If she wants to officially come out, great for her, but I’m not going to be too disappointed if it’s someone else.

      Autostraddle is giving Veronica Mars a run for her money. I love mysteries solved through computers.

  3. It sounds pretty legit, but my only thought is, is she big enough for people to care? I’ve honestly never heard of her (although I could very well be under a rock), and although I don’t read People, don’t they usually have big people on the cover?

  4. I bought her album ‘I am Shelby Lynne’ back in ’99 when i was a young aspiring gay, and at the time i didn’t know why. i didn’t even really know who she was and i wasn’t particularly a fan of her music. i just felt overwhelmingly, inexplicably compelled to buy it. Now, at last, i know why. Thanks! Excellent sleuthing.

    • I love this, Denn.

      That’s exactly how I bought Brandi Carlile and Jennifer Knapp’s first CDs. :D

      And, well, I was right about both of those.

      Great investigative reporting, Tinkerbell. It totes must be Shelby Lynne. All signs point to GAY.

      And anyone who’s ever bought a country music CD or listened to country music knows who Shelby Lynne is. She’s not like, Shania or Reba, but people do know her. Or, maybe that’s just because I worked at a music store.

  5. I see the Miley has been replaced by The Real L Word pic. Thanks to that show, everyone will now know that it’s not sunshine on the shoulders that makes us happy.

    • It took me the longest time to realize that it was “Cinco de Gayo” because of the gay. My brain instantly translated it literally (like “Five of Rooster”) and I was wondering WTF? Even though it would be spelled wrong ’cause it’s gallo. Meh, whatever.

  6. You are brilliant, and your “in conclusion” is hilarious. I hope Oprah comes out on May 4th to put her and People in their cranky gay place.


  8. Pingback: So, which surprise lesbian is coming out on May 5th?

  9. Wow. I…did not suspect her. Although I guess I never really knew anything about Shelby Lynne’s private life except for that terrible stuff with her parents. I’ve been a casual fan of her music for years, though. It kind of suprises me that so many people are saying they haven’t heard of her! Everybody, get her “I Am Shelby Lynne” album, it’s golden.

  10. Holy Cow Batman!!!!
    I recall her red spiky hair my freshman year of college and I pinged…but didn’t come out until junior year, laughs.
    I AM SHELBY LYNNE is a fabulous album. I have to tell my old roommate that this might happen. We were both loving that album while on a cruise to Cozumel.
    You might not have heard of her but you should look on YouTube for her Austin City Limits live performance of the I Am Shelby Lynne album. This would be in the 2000-2001 time frame.
    Much better than her country albums before. I Am was more mainstream pop to me.
    The follow up album was not good. I have not purchased the Dusty tribute but would be willing to take the chance. She has a fabulous voice.
    Very interesting!

  11. Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has no idea who she is…I thought it was just ’cause I’m from Canada.

    Yay for her, maybe?

  12. Unfortunately, the Dixie Chicks are all married with kids. I mean, I suppose that doesn’t necessarily mean it couldn’t be one of them, but I’ve long given up hope that Natalie Maines will one day be ready to make nice with me.

  13. Pingback: Is Shelby Lynne People’s Big Gay Reveal? [Cinco De Gayo] | Top Blogs News

  14. I think and hope you are wrong. Not cos I’m mean but seriously that is an anti-climax. Compared to the other people who’ve come out through yer man (yes I’m too lazy to scroll up and see what his name is) this just doesn’t seem right.

    Imagine if it was Jennifer Beals coming out. Not that it ever would be especially not through People but isn’t that the stuff dreams are made out of. It would give you a mind orgasm.

  15. She may seem cranky, and I have no f-ing clue who she is, but dangit, I think she’s cute. And that is good enough for me. mmm-hmm.

    • i know right, i think she’s really cute! and statistically speaking ,lesbians almost never come out when they’re single, so she probs has a girlfriend, and who knows, maybe her girlfriend is like kelly clarkson or something

      • Ha! I’m pretty sure Kelly Clarkson has a gf….but it’s not Shelby Lynn. ;)

        BTW, all that about not being gay and loving her gay fans, etc.? Same thing Kelly’s been saying.

        • yeah I know Kelly Clarkson has a gf but it’s not Shelby Lynne. I was just, you know, making shit up. I’m guessing Shelby’s girlfriend is likely someone we have never heard of, though it would be hilar if it turned out that she was dating like, Dolly Parton.

          Re: Jess’s question… I think people are scared to come out and they’re scared of being rejected and being alone and they need the emotional support (especially if they don’t have it from their parents). Also, when someone is single they can still sort of convince themselves that they might turn straight or that they might be bi ’cause at that moment they aren’t sleeping with ANYONE. I also think there is pressure from your partner to come out… your partner doesn’t want to live a lie or let you tkae your Mom to the grammys instead of her… and when you are in a r’ship, there’s a higher chance you’ll get outed or caught when you’re out together being girlfriends.

          • Ha…if we’re going for out there gf choices for Kelly, I’d vote Melissa Etheridge. She and Kelly seemed pretty cozy at Divas and rumor is Melissa cheated on her wife. BUT, I don’t think so…

            Kelly’s gf is a part of the picture, you just have to know where to look. And no, it’s not her make-up girl as it’s been long rumoured.

            And I do agree about the mystery lady being in a relationship by all the reasons you stated. :)

          • haha yes yes i was still talking about shelby, as i have no idea who shelby’s girlfriend is. i know who kelly’s girlfriend is, etc. or i think i do, ’cause someone told me so, which on the internet counts as knowing, i think.

            omg if shelby was dating melissa and/or tammy, now that would make Cinco De Gayo a very, very, very exciting holiday for reals. Melissa Etheridge does like to announce her relationships on the covers of magazines for rizzle.

      • That’s interesting Riese… why do you think many lesbians only come out when they’re in a relationship?

  16. I always thought Shelby Lynne was gay….but will this really get people to buy her new album if it really is her?

  17. Pingback: Is Shelby Lynne People’s Big Gay Reveal? | Defamer Australia

  18. You know, this will get me in trouble, but on May 5th I really hope that it’s Senator Lindsey Graham who comes out as a lesbian.

  19. Lance Bass? Shelby Lynne? Queers (Ooops – Gays) in general –

    Who cares.

  20. love how the “who?” replies are like that on ONTD.

    i also like how i read about AS on ONTD :)

  21. If ya’ll figured this out, I’m gonna have to ask you to look into my aunt’s orientation because I have serious questions.

  22. wow impressive sleuthing/stalking here. still hoping for kstew or ellen page, tho, cuz that would make my life

  23. I’m definitely a little late on this but my mother LOVES Shelby Lynne and my mom likes really really gay music (her favorites include k.d. lang AND the Indigo Girls). So judging by my mother’s taste in music I’d say Shelby Lynne is most certainly not straight.

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  25. you know, i really thought that this shelby chick was like Jane lynch’s sister or something… But then i read her name a second time, realized that lynch and lynne were two totally different last names, and that i never heard of her until this article.
    ofcourse, i slapped myself
    literary skills jamie, literary skills

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  27. I don’t know why Shelby Lynne tries to deny that she’s gay, or refuses to comment/admit it. First time I ever saw her in concert was at the gayest of gay bars in Ft. Worth, Texas. Many, many, MANY, years ago. She sure can sing, but she was rude as hell at that venue. Based on these quotes from her other interviews, she hasn’t changed a bit. She can sing, and I’ll grant that she’s got the cute factor going on, but her personality does her no favors at all. Girl’s gonna be on the fringe forever, I think. But I guess it pays the bills.

    • i know i’m copying and pasting what i said, but:

      my dad used to direct country music videos all the time, and he did a few for shelby lynne back in the day. when i mentioned this to him he laughed and said “she’s been out for years now!” apparently on set she was always with her girlfriend and would talk to my dad about her and being gay etc etc.


    • i know i said this, but:

      my dad used to direct country music videos and he did a few for shelby lynne. he said she was totally out to everyone she knew at that time. even brought her girlfriend on set. that woman she denied a relationship with? she broke off her marriage and the other woman ended her marriage and they were legit together for awhile. i don’t think she’s denying it anymore. hasn’t for awhile.

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