Countrytown is celebrating out-and-proud country artists who are leading the way, like Brooke Eden, Logan Hoswell, Hayden Joseph and more!
Every June, Pride Month is a time when the LGBTQIA+ community comes together to celebrate the acceptance of sexual diversity and embrace self-identity. It’s also the perfect time to think about and discuss how far our society and industry has come on issues of gender and sexuality equality and acceptance.
Although huge strides have been made over recent years, including the passing of the same-sex marriage bill in Australia in late 2017 – there are still long ways to go in country music.
Many individuals, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and others, choose to remain closeted out of fear. Experiences of “coming out” can be a very traumatic and Countrytown is proud to shine a light on those that are out and proud in the country music community. We applaud and thank those that are standing up and creating visibility so that the next generation of LGBTQIA+ musicians know they are not alone and see our genre and industry as not only accepting, but welcoming and encouraging.
It's time to celebrate those in our country music community that are out, proud and leading the way.
Join our community with our FREE weekly newsletter
On the cusp of her 40th birthday, 11-time Golden Guitar winner Beccy Cole came out to the public on Australian Story in 2012. Cole, who is now married to cabaret singer Libby O’Donovan, decided to come out to set a positive example to her then-13-year-old son, Ricky. After a brief marriage to fellow musician Mick Albeck, Cole said she made her "personal discovery" when her son was less than a year old.
Billy Gilman, who found success in country music as a child in the early 2000s, came out as gay in 2014. After years of speculation, he made the announcement with a YouTube video when he was 26, after being spotted with his partner by a local reporter. He said, “It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist, or a gay person. But it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that because I’m in a genre, and in an industry, that is ashamed of me for being me.”
Six-time Grammy Award winner, Brandi Carlile came out as a gay woman back in 2002 and married her partner, Catherine Shepherd, in 2012. Now the couple has two children, Evangeline and Elijah. In her new memoir, Broken Horses, Carlile talks about the youth pastor who refused to baptise her because she was gay, her relationships with girls in secret at school, her confusion and struggles about what her role was when her wife was pregnant through IVF, the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in media and culture and more.
Brandy Clark, who hadn’t realised she was gay until she was in her early 20s, has been carrying the torch for LGBTQIA+ people in country music since launching a recording career in 2013. She also co-wrote Kacey Musgraves’ progressive ditty Follow Your Arrow, which casually brought LGBTQIA+ inclusivity to Southern consciousness. She said, “I don’t think any of us realised that day or even when she put it on the album what a moment it was for a lot of people. I’m really proud … that the LGBTQIA+ community feels represented.”
Brooke Eden’s new single, Got No Choice is her story with her partner of five years, Hilary Hoover. The two met through their work in the music industry, and their sweet love story is at the centre of a trilogy of songs Eden has released over the past few months, including No Shade and Sunroof. Directed by Ford Fairchild, the accompanying music video captures the pair’s love on film in an organic way.
T.J. Osborne, one-half of the platinum-selling country hit-makers Brothers Osborne, revealed he is gay in an interview with Time earlier this year. The 36-year-old said he’s known he was gay since he was young and has been out to friends and family for years. He describes being closeted as “painful, lonely and isolating” and hopes that coming out might open the door to more gay country music fans.
Nashville-based rising pop-country star, Hayden Joseph recently released his uplifting anthem of self-acceptance, Out. As an openly gay male pursuing a country music career, he prides himself in the inclusive nature of his lyrics and strives to continue breaking industry barriers. Joseph has been making waves as one of the few out-and-proud singers in the country genre for the better part of the last year, following the successful release of his 2021 debut album Different, which has garnered over 300,000 streams.
Katie Pruitt is a 27-year-old Americana artist who recently released a defiant album about being a lesbian raised Catholic in Atlanta. Songs like Loving Her, Normal, and Georgia speak of her ongoing struggle to embrace her own queerness and encourage those around her to do the same. She’s described It’s Always Been You as a love song to her current girlfriend, with whom she’s experienced a healthy, loving relationship for the first time in her life.
With a music video featuring a stripper pole to hell and a steamy lap dance for Satan, Lil Nas X’s MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) contains lyrics that are full of references celebrating and normalising queer sex. He first revealed his homosexuality in the 2019 song C7osure and has since been vocal in his support of LGBTQIA+ rights and the community as a whole. He has discussed the responsibility that comes with being a gay public figure and hopes he can use his platform to encourage others to come out when they are ready.
Logan Hoswell played an important part in country music history when she joined married couple, Beccy Cole and Libby O’Donovan onboard the first LGBTQIA+ pride float at the Tamworth Country Music Festival cavalcade in 2020. Hoswell also credits the couple as an inspiration to help her come out to friends and family at 18-years-old. She told ABC News, "My family as well have been so great about it; they just acted as if nothing ever changed, which is the way it should be."
Billboard described Orville Peck as “the masked gay crooner revitalizing classic country’s spirit,” which sums up why he was the perfect choice to cover Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, for the anniversary edition of the album of the same name, which features six tracks from different artists who are representing and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition to the countrified remix, Peck updated the bridge’s lyrics to be more inclusive for 2021, swapping the words “chola” and “orient” for “Asian” and “Latinx.”
For more great content, check out our other features here.
Image: via Facebook