Out country singer TJ Osborne kissed his boyfriend, Abi Ventura, after winning a Country Music Award, marking a first for the longstanding award show.
One half of the Brothers Osborne, the country music star came out in February and instantly became the highest-profile out performers in the genre. The two won for Vocal Duo of the Year.
“It’s been a crazy roller coaster of a year for us in so many ways, especially for me emotionally,” Osborne told the audience as he accepted the award. “And to have you all support me, it really does feel like love wins tonight. Thank you.”
His words were met with a standing ovation.
Brothers Osborne performed their song, “Younger Me” during the ceremony. Osborne wrote the song about his struggles as a young man to accept his sexuality and learn to embrace it.
Tennessee Republicans blocked a resolution to honor the singer earlier this year, motivated by homophobia. State Rep. Jeremy Faison, chair of the House Republican Caucus, rejected the measure despite unanimous passage in the Republican-controlled state senate.
“Though T.J. Osborne is not the first country music artist to come out as gay, he is the first and currently only openly gay artist signed to a major country music label,” the resolution read. It went on to describe him as “a trailblazer and a symbol of hope for those country music artists and fans alike who may have felt ostracized from a genre they hold dear.”
“I’m very comfortable being gay,” the 36-year-old country star said when he officially came out. “I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange.”
— Jason Scott (@JasontheScott) November 11, 2021
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) November 11, 2021
WATCH: “We have some concerns.” @JeremyFaison4TN and the @tnhousegop block a resolution to honor out gay country music star TJ Osborne of the @brothersosborne for no reason other than blatant bigotry and spite.
It passed the senate 30-0.
So much hate in our state. 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/feOo5tAG9f
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 4, 2021
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) May 4, 2021