Dolly Parton Shares Her Sadness Over Orlando Nightclub Shooting

Dolly Parton has always been open about the fact that she embraces all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. The country music legend lives by the rule that everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect. Parton responded to the horrifying news of the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre during a press conference in Toronto, as Billboard reports.

“First of all, I do have a big gay following. I’m a patron saint for a lot of them guys, and it makes me feel good. All those drag queens, sometimes I see some of them look more like me than I do…As far as what happened in Orlando, that’s horrible. It wouldn’t matter what kind of club it was. It happened to be a gay, lesbian club. …And it’s a hate crime, it looks to me, is what they said.”

In 2014, Dolly Parton told Billboard she believes she has so many gay and lesbian fans because they know she loves and accepts them just as she does all people. She explained that she has had to overcome much adversity in her own life and had to struggle to be allowed to be herself. This has allowed Dolly to relate to those who are viewed as different by society simply for trying to be themselves.

Dolly Parton went on to say that “everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love” without facing judgment. She called out Christians who judge others, saying that they are themselves sinning because “the sin of judging is just as bad as any other sin they might say somebody else is committing.”

Dolly Parton feels just as strongly about the issue today. The 70-year-old entertainer and business woman told Toronto reporters that it is not her job to pass judgment. Parton said she follows this philosophy in her businesses, stating that they employ thousands of people without discriminating.

“I am not God. I am no judge. I just know that God loves us all. I work with so many and hire so many people. I have thousands of people that I employ through all of my various businesses, whether it’s Dollywood or Dixie Stampede, the Lumberjack [Adventure], we hire everybody.”

Dolly expressed her sadness over the fact that anyone has to die at the hands of another, especially when it’s because of hate and unacceptance. Parton said the world would be a much better and safer place if we could “just love one another a little more.”

“I just think it’s terrible that people kill anybody for any reason. But the fact that you just kill somebody for being something you don’t agree with or don’t understand or accept, that’s terrible. It’s just terrible period. We should just love one another a little more, don’t you think?”

When Dolly Parton was asked about her support for transgender bathroom rights, she replied, “Everybody should be safe, everybody should be comfortable in their world, however they do.”

Parton went on to add that we need to “try to love each other a little better, try to look after each other a little more.”

While Dolly Parton recognizes that “it’s nothing to be flippant about it in any way,” she joked about the fact that her family had the first transgender bathroom, referring to the outhouse they shared when she was growing up. She also pointed out with a laugh that “everybody’s free to pee” in the waterpark at Dollywood. On a more serious note, Parton said that she feels better rules need to be made.

Dolly Parton was in Toronto promoting her 2016 Pure & Simple Tour, which she kicked-off on June 3 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The 60-city North American tour is her first major tour in over 25 years. It coincides with Parton’s upcoming double-disc album, Pure & Simple with Dolly’s Biggest Hits, set for release later this summer.

[Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]

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