23 LGBT-Friendly Country Artists You Should Know About
23 LGBT-Friendly Country Artists You Should Know About
Country music often has a reputation for being old-fashioned and antigay. That said, stereotypes are being faced head-on every day, and as with most reputations, there's plenty of aspects that simply aren't true.
Here are 23 LGBTQ+-friendly country artists out there proving that homophobia isn't an inherent part of good ol' country music.
Miranda Lambert and her husband, Brendan McLoughlin, joined Lambert’s brother, Luke, and his husband for WorldPride in New York City. She further discussed her love for her brother with Pride Source, saying, “I support him 100 percent in whatever he does. He is a brilliant individual and the most amazing person, and just so genuine.”
T.J. Osbourne became the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label when he came out to Time Magazine in 2021. “People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ and personally, I agree with that,” he said at the time. “But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!’”
Maren Morris recently made headlines for her appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race, where she apologized to the queens for the way country music has treated them. “Coming from country music and its relationship with LGBTQ+ members, I just want to say I’m sorry,” she said. “I love you guys for making me feel like a brave voice in country music. So I just thank you guys so much for inspiring me.”
Kacey has been very vocal about her support of the LGBT community, both in interviews and in song. Her hit single "Follow Your Arrow" proclaims “kiss lots of boys / or kiss lots of girls, if that’s what you’re into.” She followed up in an interview in 2012 to say “I love gay people…I'm saying, as a human, hopefully you can just recognize that people should be able to do what they want to do and love who they want to love.” (via Pride Source)
In 2020, country singer-songwriter Mickey Guyton told NBC News, “Country music is for everyone. It’s for LGBTQ communities, Latino communities. It’s so important that people of color, Black, brown, whatever color you are, are seen within this industry.” Country singer Brooke Eden also praised Guyton’s support after she publicly came out as gay.
The reigning queen of country received a lot of backlash in 2012 when she was one of the first country artists to boldly support gay marriage, stating “As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love, and want to marry. I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.” (via The Independent)
Ty Herndon came out as gay during an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonightin 2014. At the time, he noted that his two former wives were “absolutely” aware of his sexuality, and his 2013 album, Lies I Told Myself, was about the biggest lie he told himself: That he couldn’t be gay in country music. He also started the annual Concert for Love & Acceptance in partnership with GLAAD.
"We Shall Be Free," Brooks’ self-proclaimed most controversial song of his career, beautifully states, “When we’re free to love anyone we choose / When this world’s big enough for all different views / When we all can worship from our own kind of pew/ Then we shall be free.” This statement is known as one of the most famous mentions of gay rights in country music and subsequently won Garth a GLAAD Media Award in 1993. (via The New Yorker)
The Dixie Chicks are no strangers to speaking their mind. Lead singer Natalie Maines has very publically stated her approval for the LGBT community, boldly saying, “I’m pro-gay marriage. Pro-gay everything.” Meanwhile, sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison took to song to voice their opinion on a track titled "Ain’t No Son," a song about a boy coming out to disapproving father. (via Pink News)
Dolly is easily one of the most vocal supporters of the LGBT community. She drove home that sentiment again in 2014 when talking about her gay fans: “They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people.” From hosting 'Gay Days' at her theme park, to addressing rumors of herself being a lesbian, to entering (and losing) a drag completion, Dolly is a legend in the LGBT fight for equality. (via E! News)
Not only has the country singer and recent marijuana tycoon contributed a song to the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, but he also talked to Texas Monthly a couple of years back about his long-standing stance on the gay community and marriage equality. He said, “I never had a problem with any of it. I’ve known straight and gay people all my life. I can’t tell the difference…People are people where I came from.” (via Texas Monthly)
After being slammed by conservative groups for singing on a gay and lesbian cruise in 2005, the country singer whipped back, stating, “I’ve had the biggest gay following in the history of country music...since 1980-something, I think it’s just the more you talk about love, the more you talk about God, the bigger of a target you are. And so bring it on.” (via CMT)
Martina McBride sat down with OUT in 2009 (an act towards equality in and of itself), and stated, “Honestly, I just have to do what’s right for me, and what I would tell people is what I believe, which is that I feel like tolerance is very important. I have three daughters and that’s what I teach them. I think we should all be tolerant of each other and embrace each other’s strengths and differences and uniqueness and beauty.” (via OUT)
Reba has been a long-time supporter of the gay community, talking to many diverse gay-friendly publications throughout her career, and when asked about the importance of gay marriage just last year she said, “[Gay marriage is] very important. I just went to my first gay wedding a couple of months ago in California for Michael and Steven, my two great friends. They've been together for 20 years! I thought that it was not fair, and I didn't understand why they couldn't get married. (via Pride Source)
Not only has Tim McGraw starred in Dirty Girl, a gay-themed indie film directed by out director Abe Slyvia, but he also spoke to a middle school in 2012 after a student committed suicide due to anti-gay bullying.
After country musician Chely Wright publically came out as a lesbian, Chely went on record to discuss the country music artists who reached out in support of her courageous decision, and Faith Hill was among those who praised her. In private, but praised nonetheless.
LeAnn Rimes has performed with the Gay Men’s Choir of Los Angeles, posted an ‘It Gets Better’ Video, posed for the 'No H8 Campaign' and on top of all that, has been very vocally supportive: “I believe in equality. Everybody should be treated exactly the same way no matter what their race, no matter what their sexuality.” (via Pride Source)
One-half of the superduo Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles has spoken out for marriage equality, addressed her own lesbian rumors in the most loving way possible, and when asked about her son, and what her reaction would be if he was gay, she stated “I would say…'Love and live and just be happy - and I hope you find your true prince.'" Too adorable! (via Pride Source)
Billy Gilman was a child country star who was the youngest person to ever chart on Top 40 Country Radio with his single"One Voice." Fast forward to 2014, the singer bravely posted his coming out story on YouTube, publically coming out as gay and garnering almost 1M video views.
Chely Wright, singer of the power anthem "Single White Female" publically came out of the closet in 2010 and is widely recognized as one of the first people in country music to do so. She has since released a documentary about her coming out titled Wish Me Away and married her longtime girlfriend. The two welcomed twins in 2013!
Brandy Clark is breaking out in the country music scene after years of writing hits behind the scenes (including Kacey Musgraves’ "Follow Your Arrow"). Brandy is one of the first publicly out country artists currently producing hits. Her new single, "Girl Next Door" is burning up the charts and as a lesbian, she is boldly speaking out about what it’s like to be gay and in country music. "I feel so fortunate to be in a time where I am embraced completely as who I am and I don't have to hide who I am in any way," Clark said. "I hope that we've broken some boundaries and things are changing. I feel very included in the country music community." (via Fox News)
Does Taylor Swift count? I mean, just a couple years ago she was one of the most major players in the country music industry and it seems with her transition into pop superstar, Taylor has also found her voice on equality. Her track "Welcome to New York" boldly belts “And you can want who you want / Boys and boys and girls and girls”. She quoted this exact lyric in a tweet after marriage equality was passed, following it with "#lovewins #FINALLY."
Rascal Flatts released an incredibly inspiring LGBT anthem in 2009 titled "Love Who You Love." Lead singer Gary LeVox discussed its impact on their own gay friends saying, “We actually have some gay people that work with us, and we have a lot of friends that are gay, too, and I know that this song has inspired them...I know that coming out was tough on their parents and on them and the whole entire family. For a long time, some of them didn’t get to hear ‘I love you’ from their dads or be accepted in that way...It’s helped a lot of our friends.” (via The Boot)