5 Pride Moments That Will Go Down In Country Music History

The country music genre has experienced a positive shift in the last few years and has become a safer space for the LGBTQ+ community.

The country music genre has experienced a positive shift in the last few years, and has become a safer space for the LGBTQ+ community. Notable names within the country landscape such as Chely Wright, Ty Herndon, Brooke Eden, T. J. Osborne, CMT’s very own Cody Alan, and more have used their voices to advocate for queer musicians and fans.

Allies have used their platforms and the power of music to push for unity and acceptance alongside LGBTQ+ friends as well.

In honor of pride month, CMT is looking back at pivotal moments that have furthered knowledge and acceptance of queer artists in country music over the last few years.

Country Proud

Country Proud, presented by the Nash News and RNBW Queer Music Collective in partnership with CMA and CMT, made history this month as the first LGBTQ+ event officially presented as part of CMA Fest.

Country music’s queer community filled Assembly Food Hall on Nashville’s Lower Broad for hours as members of the genre’s LGBTQ+ community entertained hundreds of fans.

Singer Steff Mahan recounted that she was preparing to leave Nashville when she felt shunned because of her sexuality. A friend encouraged her to stay, saying, “Baby girl, God doesn’t give a bird wings if he doesn’t want it to fly.”

“I’m not rich,” she explained. “I’m not famous. But I get to do what I love, and I get to do it with great people, and that’s what matters.”

The night’s lineup included Sonia Leigh, Gina Venier, Jessica Rose, Chris Housman, Charlie Worsham, Kristen Merlin, Harper Grae, Kentucky Gentlemen, Zoe Cummins, Adam Mac, Breann Young, Maia Sharp, Shelly Fairchild and Lila McCann.

Seeing the support that country music fans poured into the queer country community at an official CMA Fest event warmed Hunter Kelly’s heart. Kelly is the host of Proud Radio on Apple Music Country.

“It’s a huge milestone for this gay kid who grew up going to Fan Fair in the ‘90s but never seeing myself reflected on stage before now,” he said. “The talent coming out of this scene along with the communities like Black Opry is giving country music the creative shot in the arm it needs.”

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