Singer-songwriter-actor Dolly Parton talked about her gay following in a recent interview with Michigan gay weekly PrideSource.

The 70-year-old Parton described how she helped LGBT people come out.

“I've had many people through the years who I have helped to feel good about themselves. I say, 'You need to let people know who you are and you need to come on out. You don't need to live your life in darkness – what's the point in that? You're never gonna be happy; you're gonna be sick. You're not gonna be healthy if you try to suppress your feelings and who you are,'” Parton said.

“I have a couple of transgender people in my company who are on salary with me, so I am totally open for that. And a lot of people feel like they can come to me. … and they do! Whether it's about being gay or whatever, a lot of people do me like they used to do my mama and come to talk to me about things. Hopefully I'm able to help. I think I have,” she said.

Parton added that in the “early days” she did not know very many gay people.

“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,” Parton said.