Are you a country music fan looking for representation in the genre? Well, you're not alone! Below we’ve showcased the best gay male country singers around. While there are more, these are our favorite.
1. Cameron Hawthorn
Cameron Hawthorn is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter making waves in the country music scene. Originally from Dallas, Cameron is a gay man that has used his platform to promote authenticity and acceptance.
In 2018, he publicly came out as gay through his influential music video “Dancing in the Living Room,” a release that showcased his journey to living an honest life.
Cameron's music strikes a chord with listeners across genres with a boot-stomping sound that captures both heartache and hope.
2. Ty Herndon
Ty Herndon is a country music singer who made headlines in 2014 when he bravely came out as gay, becoming the first mainstream male country artist to do so. In an interview with PEOPLE, he revealed that he had been keeping his sexuality a secret throughout his entire career.
Herndon shared that he realized he was gay at age ten and struggled with guilt about it. He had a close relationship with his mother, who knew he was gay before he even did.
Despite this internal struggle, Ty Herndon's talent and passion for music allowed him to soar on the country music charts nearly 20 years ago.
3. Billy Gilman
Billy Gilman is an incredibly talented country singer and one of the best gay male artists in the industry. Born on May 24, 1988, he has significantly impacted country music.
Not only was he nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal, but he also holds the title of the biggest-selling country artist who has come out as gay, with an impressive 5 million records sold.
Billy came out shortly after Ty Herndon's announcement, and his openness about his sexuality has inspired other singers to follow suit.
4. Orville Peck
Orville Peck is a rising star in the country music scene, and his unique blend of LGBTQ+ representation and traditional country sounds has gained him a significant queer fanbase.
But it's not just his music that sets him apart. Orville Peck has an enigmatic persona, often wearing a distinctive leather-fringed mask during performances.
He has also opened up about his identity as a gay man in the music industry, facing homophobia. Despite these challenges, he continues to evolve as an artist and released his first love song to show his growth.
5. Cody Belew
In the tapestry of country music, Cody Belew's voice emerges as a vibrant thread, weaving a story of authenticity, diversity, and unwavering talent. With a voice as rich as the landscapes he sings about, Belew has carved a unique path in country music.
Hailing from a genre often associated with tradition, Cody Belew fearlessly embraces his identity as a gay man, challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers along the way.
His music becomes a bridge, connecting the heart of the country with the pulse of change, inviting listeners of all backgrounds to experience the beauty of his melodies.
6. Drake Jensen
Drake Jensen, a name that has carved its path through the heart of country music, stands as a testament to authenticity and courage. Born with a voice that carries the genre's soul, Jensen's journey is a story of resilience, breaking barriers, and embracing one's true self.
In a genre often characterized by traditional values, Drake Jensen fearlessly stepped into the spotlight, unapologetically embracing his identity as a gay man.
His decision to live authentically, both in his personal life and through his music, inspires countless individuals who find solace in his tunes.
7. Waylon Payne
We're diving into the journey of Waylon Payne, a prominent figure in the country music scene who recently resurfaced after a 15-year hiatus. Named after family friend and country legend Waylon Jennings, Payne's artistic roots run deep.
His musical legacy stems from his mother, country singer Sammi Smith, and father, Jody Payne, who relentlessly strummed the guitar for Willie Nelson.
The road to fame wasn't smooth sailing for him or without its share of personal trials and tribulations.
8. Paisley Fields
Breaking the mold in country music, Paisley Fields, an openly gay singer-songwriter-bandleader, has been gracing the industry with his presence since 2013.
Fields began his career as part of a duo alongside Jessica—his friend—but now stands as the sole songwriter of their combined efforts.
Acknowledging this brave approach increases our appreciation for Fields as we see how he's driving change despite challenges faced due to being openly gay in this traditional music scene.
9. Mark Weigle
Mark Weigle, a notable singer-songwriter, has left an indelible mark on the music landscape. With heartfelt lyrics and a soulful voice, he has captivated audiences since the late 1990s. Weigle's artistry extends beyond melodies as he fearlessly embraces his identity, weaving his experiences into his songs.
By sharing his personal journey, he encourages a sense of unity and understanding, creating a space where diverse stories thrive. His impact is not solely confined to music; Weigle's advocacy and honesty ripple beyond the stage, fostering an environment of acceptance and change.
Through his melodies and candidness, he amplifies the chorus of voices echoing for a more inclusive world.
10. Steve Grand
Steve Grand is a notable figure in country music, acclaimed for both his musical talent and his significant contributions to inclusivity. Bursting onto the scene in 2013, his debut single “All-American Boy” garnered widespread attention, highlighting his raw vocals and poignant storytelling.
Grand has bravely shared his personal journey, offering a positive representation of the community. His open discussions about his identity and experiences resonate, creating a space for understanding and acceptance.
By unapologetically embracing his true self and fostering conversations, Steve Grand has become an emblem of change, demonstrating the power of authenticity in the industry and beyond.
11. Patrick Haggerty
Patrick Haggerty is a true pioneer in the world of gay country music. He was an openly gay artist who challenged traditional country music norms and paved the way for LGBTQ representation in the industry.
In 1973, Haggerty released Lavender Country, which is believed to be the first known gay-themed album in country music history. This groundbreaking record gained recognition for its nonconformist approach and became important to LGBTQ visibility in music.
Haggerty's refusal to conform to stereotypes left a lasting legacy, and his music inspires and resonates with audiences today.
12. Tommy Atkins
Tommy Atkins is a talented gay country singer from the UK. In 2020, he made history on country radio by releasing the first-ever hit to feature openly gay lyrics in Europe. With six number-one hits across the UK, Canada, and New Zealand, Tommy Atkins has undoubtedly captured the hearts of country music fans worldwide.
Based in Newcastle, England, Tommy Atkins is known for his incredible talent and contributions to the LGBTQ+ community in country music.
As the founder and host of Proud to Be Coun, a platform for LGBTQ+ country music artists, Tommy Atkins continues to create a space where artists can express themselves freely and be celebrated for who they are.
13. T. J. Osborne
The country music genre has recently seen a surge in LGBTQ+ representation. A critical figure leading this change is T.J. Osborne of the Brothers Osborne. His revelation about being gay in February 2021 marked him as the first openly gay country singer, creating an important industry dialogue.
T.J.'s bravery did not stop at his announcement; it opened up opportunities for greater representation and sparked conversations among his fans and fellow country artists.
Breaking barriers doesn't come easy, especially challenging stereotypes in a traditional genre like country music. Still, T.J.'s presence provides visibility to LGBTQ+ fans longing to see themselves represented in their favorite musical style.
14. Sam Williams
Sam Williams is a rising star in country music, and his talent is undeniable. As part of the famous Williams family, with his father being Hank Williams Jr., Sam has inherited a musical legacy that spans generations.
Sam's openness about his sexuality adds to the growing representation of LGBTQ+ artists in country music and may provide support and inspiration to others in the community.
Through his honesty and bravery, Sam Williams is breaking barriers and making a name for himself as one of the best gay male country singers today.
15. Shane McAnally
Shane McAnally is a talented singer-songwriter in the country music industry. As one of the few openly gay men in mainstream country, he has faced his fair share of challenges but has managed to make a name for himself over the past 15 years.
McAnally's career took off as a solo artist for Curb Records when LeeAnn Womack recorded his song “Last Call” in 2008.
Since then, he has charted on the country music charts and won three Grammy Awards for his work, including co-producing Kacey Musgraves' acclaimed debut album.
Top Gay Male Country Singers, Final Thoughts
The best gay male country singers highlighted in this article are breaking barriers and paving the way for LGBTQ+ representation in the genre. By standing loud and proud, these artists are making great music, challenging stereotypes, and advocating for gay rights.
As more LGBTQ+ voices rise in country music, it is clear that the industry is becoming more inclusive and ready to embrace diversity.