A country music category has been added to the fourth annual Gay/Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA), to take place on April 24 in New York City. “In addition to expanding into genres where we feel there is a growing queer presence, we felt it was important to recognize excellence in related areas of the music industry,” said Michael Mitchell, GLAMA Executive Director. “Adding a country category was a logical step given the growing number of out country performers.” The new country category comes on the heels of the formation of the Lesbian and Gay Country Music Association (LGCMA), an organization that represents country artists who are openly gay (or out). Led by San Francisco singer Doug Stevens, the fledging organization is a supportive network for gay and lesbian country singers who refuse to hide their sexual identity. Stevens is excited about the addition of the country category at the awards show. “In the past, country was widely believed to be the last bastion of conservative, homophobic thinking in the music industry. But, thanks to GLAMA’s new country category, we are showing the world that there are lots of urban and rural gays and lesbians who love country music.” The current issue of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Journal of Country Music features a story on gay artists in country music, written by Chris Dickinson, the publication’s editor. Dickinson talks with Stevens and other gay artists in the LGCMA. The article also tracks the history of gay country music from the groundbreaking 1973 LP Lavender Country to the work of late country singer Sid Spencer, a cult hero of the current movement.