Lawmakers in Tennessee blocked the passage of a state resolution to commend and honor TJ Osborne after he came out as gay in February.
The measure named Osborne, 36, as the “first and currently only openly gay artist signed to a major country music label” and also state that he has become “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.”
Now, TJ Osborne Is Speaking Out Following the Blockage of a State Resolution in His Honor Simple Because He Is Gay.
On Monday, State Rep. Jeremy Faison used his power in the House Republican Caucus to block the resolution after it had been passed unanimously in the Tenneesee state Senate.
“We have some concerns,” the Rep. said in a video of the hearing shared by The Tennessee Holler. Although he did not explicitly state those “concerns,” Faison said that “it wasn’t heard in committee, and I feel like it needs to be.”
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.— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 4, 2021
It passed the senate 30-0.
So much hate in our state. ????️???? pic.twitter.com/feOo5tAG9f
63 Representatives in total voted to send the measure back to the committee which, Holler noted, has closed for the year.
Fallout following the release of the video and as the news spread included several notable country stars coming to TJ Osborne’s defense and even a message from TJ himself.
The official Twitter account for Brothers Osborne, of which TJ is a member, retweeted the video on Tuesday, and wrote, “We’ve lived in this state for over half of our lives. @JeremyFaison4TN honored Ben Shapiro who doesn’t even live here. Jeremy, let’s have lunch one day. On us. Would really like to know more about you as a person.”
On Tuesday, Faison reached out to Brothers Osborne and offered to personally meet with them.
“I would be honored to break bread with you,” the Rep. tweeted, to which the country duo replied, “We’ll message you directly, @JeremyFaison4TN.”
In an interview with TIME in early 2021, TJ came out as gay and detailed the unconditional support he’s gotten from his brother John, who is the other member of Brothers Osborne.
“I’m very comfortable being gay,” Osborne told TIME, saying that he worried about coming out in an industry that skews conservative and evangelical. “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,” he admitted.
“People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ and personally, I agree with that,” he elaborated. “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!'”
TJ might not have wanted to come out publicly, but we are certainly pleased he shared his truth. There are many queer fans of country music who feel that the genre and the industry do not support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Thankfully, other artists like drag queen, Trixie Mattel, and indie country singer Orville Peck are helping to queer the genre a bit more by being very loud and very proud members of the country music scene and queer community. However, the latest move by Tennessee lawmakers shows there’s still a lot of work left to be done.
We stand with you, TJ Osborne!
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