Dolly Parton says she has encouraged her own gay family members to be who they are

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Dolly Parton On Gay Family Members

It isn't just legions of LGBT fans who are inspired by her unconditional love for them -- Dolly Parton's longtime gay advocacy hits even closer to home.

The country music legend reveals that she's had heart-to-hearts with gay family members still living in her Tennessee hometown who have struggled with coming out.

WATCH: Dolly Parton 'Really Happy' About Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's Reconciliation

"I did find out I have many gays and lesbians in my own family," Parton, 70, shares in a new interview with Chris Azzopardi at PrideSource. "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."

See photos of Dolly Parton through the years:

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Dolly Parton throughout the years
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Dolly Parton throughout the years
20th May 1977: Country music queen Dolly Parton is back in London after performing at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, at a Scottish Royal Jubilee Television Special in the presence of the Queen, she now commences on a tour of Britain and the continent. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
UNDATED FILE PHOTO: Singer Dolly Parton. (photo by Newsmakers)
NASHVILLE, : Dolly Parton (R) performs with Alison Krauss (L) during the 75th Birthday for country music's Grand Ole Opry 14 October 2000 in Nashville, Tennessee. Several country music stars showed up to help celebrate the event. AFP PHOTO/Neil BRAKE (Photo credit should read NEIL BRAKE/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 16: American country and western singer Dolly Parton poses 16 February 2001, during the launch of her new album 'Little Arrow' in a London record store. (Photo credit should read HUGO PHILPOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Dolly Parton performed with Brad Paisley at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center, Los Angeles, Ca. 2/21/01. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Dolly Parton accepting at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 32nd Annual Awards at Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in New York City. June 14, 2001. Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect
NEW YORK - JULY 5: Singer Dolly Parton performs for the 'NBC Today Show Summer Concert Series' at Rockefeller Center July 5, 2002 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 7: Country Singer Dolly Parton performs at the House of Blues on August 7, 2002 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)
LONDON - OCTOBER 8: Singer Dolly Parton poses for photographers on October 8, 2002 at the Oxford Street HMV store in London, England. Parton was at the store to sign copies of her recently released album, 'Halos and Horns,' which includes a cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven.' (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 15: Singer Dolly Parton poses for a photograph prior to the Tennessee Film & Music Commission's industry reception at the W Hotel on October 15, 2002 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - OCTOBER 9: Singer Dolly Parton appears on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' at the NBC Studios on October 9, 2003 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 15: Singer Dolly Parton (L) and actress/singer Reba McEntire appear on the set of The WB's 'Reba' at 20th Century Fox Studios on February 15, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 4: Singer Dolly Parton performs at the Weinstein Co. Pre-Oscar Party at the Pacific Design Center on March 4, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 5: Singer Dolly Parton arrives at the 78th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre March 5, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 26: Singer Dolly Parton performs at the Country Music Television's CMT Giants honoring Reba McEntire at the Kodak Theatre on October 26, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
US country music singer Dolly Parton performs onstage in London as part of her 'Backwoods Barbie' world tour, on July 5, 2008. The tour will see her promoting the self-released album with concerts across the world. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal (Photo credit should read Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Musician Marty Stuart and singer Dolly Parton perform during Marty Stuart's 10th Annual Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium on June 8, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 10: Dolly Parton talks to the media at a press conference at the InterContinental Sydney on November 10, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 09: Actress Dolly Parton arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Joyful Noise' held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on January 9, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - JANUARY 24: Singer Dolly Parton Performs at Agua Caliente Casino on January 24, 2014 in Rancho Mirage, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 18: Stella Parton and Dolly Parton attend Stella Parton's Red Tent Women's Conference 2014 at the Doubletree Hotel Downtown on April 18, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Dolly Parton performs on QVC Presents, Dolly Parton Q Sessions Live from Nashville - Featuring 'Blue Smoke' Dolly Parton rehearses at NorthStar Studios on April 27, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Webster PR)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 27: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Dolly Parton performs during Dolly Parton Q Sessions featuring 'Blue Smoke' QVC Presents A Night In Nashville With Dolly Parton - Show at NorthStar Studios on April 27, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Webster PR)
KNOXVILLE, TN - MAY 28: Dolly Parton performs during a concert to benefit Dolly's Imagination Library & Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation at The University of Tennessee's Thompson-boling Arena on May 28, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Dolly Parton performs on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Plaza on May 13, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
US country music singer Dolly Parton performs on the Pyramid Stage, on the final day of the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm in Somerset, southwest England, on June 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Richie Sambora of US rock group Bon Jovi joins US singer Dolly Parton on the Pyramid Stage, on the final day of the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm in Somerset, southwest England, on June 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
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WATCH: Katy Perry and Dolly Parton Dazzle in Duet at ACM Awards

The gay icon says that she has become a shoulder to lean on for her LGBT relatives, whom she reveals often come to her to work through their issues regarding their sexuality.

"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?'" Parton says. "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.'"

She adds, "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."

RELATED: Dolly Parton and Carl Dean Renew Wedding Vows for 50th Wedding Anniversary

The revelation regarding Parton's gay kin comes on the heels of her 43rd album, Pure & Simple, which includes a song called "Outside Your Door," about friends with benefits. The singer has been married for 50 years to Carl Dean, and when asked about the sexy song's inspiration, Parton laughs.

"Well, I'm married, but I'm not dead!" she says. "I'm a romantic, fantasy person and I've felt all of those feelings. I've been through everything in my life. ... And hell, you don't get too old to fantasize!"

Watch Parton talk about her first major U.S. tour in 25 years in the video below.

EXCLUSIVE: Dolly Parton Dishes on Goddaughter Miley Cyrus' Engagement to Liam Hemsworth


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