Friday, June 22, 2012

Country Stars Support LGBT Rights

I used to make my living as a guitar player and singer, playing the honky-tonks of the American Southwest. I've played a lot of kinds of music but over the years I played country more than anything. I played a kind of Western swing that is popular around the universities and I played down-to-earth country classics -- cryin' in your beer music -- to hard working folks in beer-joints and roadhouses from San Diego to Kodiak.

Country musicians are not known for being overly educated or liberal. In general, country music describes the pleasure and pain of living a traditional lifestyle, adapting as much as necessary to modern innovations but basically bringing the values of nineteenth-century rural America to the cities of the twenty-first century.

Those values might seem conservative, there is an emphasis on patriotism and traditional religion and "living right" -- even though the protagonist in a song may be cheatin' or drinkin' they sure are sorry about it! They are conservative in the old-fashioned way. Individuals struggle with their own sinful nature but hold a heartfelt belief that they have the freedom to live the wrong way if they choose, and everybody else is free to make their own mistakes, too. Hank (and by that, of course, I mean Hank Senior) said it: "If you mind your business then you won't be minding mine."

Still, I admit I am as surprised as anyone to see The Advocate's review of country stars who have made pro-LGBT or marriage equality statements. The Dixie Chicks, sure -- Willie, sure -- but Toby Keith?

Here are some quotes from the article:
Garth Brooks
The musician won a GLAAD Media Award in 1993 for his song "We Shall Be Free," with lyrics such as "'Cause we shall be free / When we're free to love anyone we choose" that helped turn it into an LGBT anthem.

Laura Bell Bundy
The performer, who earned a Tony Award nomination for Broadway’s Legally Blonde, has released two country albums. In 2010 the Kentucky native discussed her relationship with LGBT friends. “Gay people have taught me there there’s really no ‘right’ way to live — it’s all okay,” she said. “That’s helped to bring me to the place I’m at now where I’m not afraid of anything anymore. I’m the most fearless I’ve ever been. It’s interesting for me to be in the country music community — you don’t know how open-minded people are going to be. But I think it’s important to treat people equally, regardless of color, sexual preference, or religion. I love people from the South, and I love traditional values, but I will not repress my love for gay people. It makes me really happy that my music is being marketed to the gay community. It’s like I’m getting my own coming-out party.”

Dixie Chicks
The trio could write a textbook on a backlash from conservative fans following their remarks in 2003 criticizing then-President George W. Bush. In 2010 sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison formed a side project Court Yard Hounds and released “Ain’t No Son,” a song about a young man coming out to his judgmental father.

Robison discussed her inspiration for the song. “I turned the TV on, and it was A&E or one of those documentary kind of shows about these poor teenage kids who are devastated that their parents won't let 'em stay in the house because they found out they were gay,’ she explained. ‘The lines, 'You ain't no son to me/Eight pound baby boy I bounced on my knee' were around from the very beginning. That idea, how can you have kids and love them so much and one day decide not to — it just boggled my mind.”

Wynona Judd
When the powerhouse vocalist was criticized by Christian fans for performing on a gay cruise in 2005, she spoke to The Advocate about the controversy.“We actually have some gay people that work with us, and we have a lot of friends that are gay, too, and I know that this song has inspired them. I know that coming out was tough on their parents and on them and the whole entire family. For a long time, some of them didn’t get to hear ‘I love you’ from their dads or be accepted in that way... It’s helped a lot of our friends.”

Toby Keith
Last year the country superstar told CMT Insider that same-sex marriage doesn’t bother him and opponents are wasting money trying to stop it. "That whole gay issue thing, that's never bothered me," he said. "I've never seen what that affects and why anybody should care — and they never do affect me."

He added, "First of all, we're going to stop somebody from getting a marriage license because they're gay? You won't stop them from living together, so what have you accomplished? ... Wasting a lot of money here and a lot of time that could be spent working on this deficit that we're under ... I never saw the reasoning behind getting in people's personal lives."

Martina McBride
In 2009 McBride was asked by Out magazine if she’d consider telling her conservative fans to be more tolerant of LGBT people. “Honestly, I just have to do what's right for me, and what I would tell people is what I believe, which is that I feel like tolerance is very important,” she replied. “I have three daughters and that's what I teach them. I think we should all be tolerant of each other and embrace each other's strengths and differences and uniqueness and beauty.”

Reba McEntire
In 2009 the singer-actress was asked by Out magazine about conservative fans who might not support LGBT equality. “I just try not to judge,” she said. “Don't judge me, and I won't judge you. And that's what it says in the Bible — 'Don't judge.' Keep an open mind. That would be my voice. I have gay friends. I have a lot of straight friends. I don't judge them. I take them for what they are. They're my friends, and I can't defend my feelings for them, other than I like 'em.”

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
In 2010 McGraw visited Grassland Middle School in Tennessee to speak out against bullyingafter a 13-year-old boy shot himself in the head after antigay bullying went unaddressed at his school. McGraw also appeared in the 2011 film Dirty Girl, a gay-themed comedy from out director Abe Sylvia. Chely Wright revealed that McGraw’s wife Hill was one of the few country singers to offer her support for coming out as lesbian.

Lorrie Morgan
On her acclaimed 2004 album Show Me How, Morgan sings against antigay bigotry on the song “Rocks.”

Willie Nelson
Interviewed for a 2010 profile for Parade magazine, Nelson, who contributed the song “He Was A Friend Of Mine” to the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, spoke out for equality. "Rednecks, hippies, misfits — we're all the same,” he said. “Gay or straight? So what? It doesn't matter to me. We have to be concerned about other people, regardless. I don't like seeing anybody treated unfairly. It sticks in my craw. I hold on to the values from my childhood.”

Dolly Parton
The iconic entertainer received an Academy Award nomination for her song “Travelin’ Through,” which she wrote for the 2005 transgender-themed drama TransAmerica.

While being interviewed by Joy Behar for CNN in 2009, Parton, a longtime equality advocate, had this to say about why she’s so accepting of her huge LGBT fan base. “We’re not supposed to try to change people. We should allow people to be who they are and love them for who they are.”

Pressed by Behar to espouse her support for marriage equality, Parton replied, “I always say, ‘Sure, why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do.’”

Rascal Flatts
The band’s “Love Who You Love” is considered an LGBT anthem. While promoting its release singer Gary LeVox discussed the song’s impact. "We actually have some gay people that work with us, and we have a lot of friends that are gay, too, and I know that this song has inspired them," he said. "I know that coming out was tough on their parents and on them and the whole entire family. For a long time, some of them didn't get to hear ‘I love you' from their dads or be accepted in that way. It's helped a lot of our friends." Bassist Jay DeMarcus added, “We don’t judge anybody’s lives.”

LeAnn Rimes
The sultry vocalist is a longtime equality advocate, having filmed an It Gets Better video, posed for the NOH8 campaign, and performed with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. “I believe in equality,” Rimes said in a 2010 interview. “Everybody should be treated exactly the same way no matter what their race, no matter what their sexuality.”

Blake Shelton
After a wrist-slapping from GLAAD following a tweet in which he rewrote Shania Twain lyrics in a way that seemed to deride gay men, the country singer and mentor on The Voice apologized.

In a series of tweets, Shelton wrote, “Hey y'all allow me to seriously apologize for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night... It honestly wasn't even meant that way... I now know that their are people out there waiting to jump at everything I say on here or anywhere. But when it comes to gay/lesbian rights or just feelings... I love everybody. So go look for a real villain and leave me out of it!!! @glaad hey I want my fans and @nbcthevoice fans to know that anti-gay and lesbian violence is unacceptable!!!!! Help me!!!! And DM me...”

Taylor Swift
The singer seems to address the antigay bullying epidemic in her Glee-esque video for the song “Mean.” In it, a boy reading a glossy fashion magazine is harassed by a members of the football team, as Swift sings, “You, pickin’ on the weaker man / Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me / And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.”

In 2009 Jennifer Nettles spoke about the gay fan base of the band, who has performed at numerous Pride events. "I've always had a large gay following," she said. "Particularly in the lesbian community. I am grateful for that ... It also means that I'm a cute girl singing a rock song in an alto voice!"

Carrie Underwood
While publicizing her latest album Blown Away, the Grammy Award-winner was asked her thoughts on LGBT equality. "I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love," she said, adding, "Our church is gay friendly," she says. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or [saying] 'everyone has to be like me.' No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."

Chely Wright
The singer is regarded as the first major country musician to come out as lesbian. Since coming out, Wright has written a memoir Like Me, an album Lifted Off the Ground, and married her girlfriend Lauren Blitzer. Fly Me Away, a documentary about her decision to come out publicly, is now playing in theaters.

Trisha Yearwood
In 2005 The Advocate asked the singer if she had advice for her gay fans. “My advice would actually be to people who are intolerant — get over it,” Yearwood said. “I can’t imagine living life and not being able to be true to who you are.”

Country Entertainers Who Support LGBT Equality
I think that is cool. Live and let live is a traditional American value, and it is good to see these influential artists making clear statements of acceptance and empathy for their LGBT neighbors and colleagues.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage appears to have made Americans on both sides of the issue even more entrenched in their positions, firing up his young, liberal backers and intensifying opposition from Republicans and conservatives, according to a new poll.

In the poll, 42 percent of respondents oppose gay marriage, 40 percent support it and 15 percent are neutral. Last August, the country was similarly divided over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married in their state, with 45 percent opposing, 42 percent favoring and 10 percent neutral.

June 22, 2012 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When asked which candidate Americans trust to do a better job of handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, there was little change from a poll taken about a week before Obama's May 9 announcement; 52 percent now side with Obama, compared with 36 percent for Romney.

June 22, 2012 4:32 PM  
Anonymous The Happy Cheney family said...

Cheneys ‘delighted’ about daughter’s marriage to longtime partner

Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, married longtime partner Heather Poe on Friday in Washington, D.C.

The former vice president and his wife, Lynne, issued a statement Friday morning saying they are "delighted" about the marriage.

“Mary and Heather have been in a committed relationship for many years, and we are delighted that they were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have that relationship recognized,” the Cheneys said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “Mary and Heather and their children are very important and much-loved members of our family and we wish them every happiness.”

The couple are parents to a son and daughter.

Mary Cheney memorably became a flashpoint in the 2004 presidential campaign, when both John Edwards and John Kerry mentioned her during debate questions on homosexuality. That drew ire from Cheney, who accused Kerry of exploiting his family to win the election.

"You saw a man who will say and do anything in order to get elected. And I am not just speaking as a father here, though I am a pretty angry father," Cheney said.

The former vice president was among the first prominent Republicans to signal support for same-sex marriage, doing so in 2009.

President Obama became the first sitting president to signal his support for gay marriage, doing so earlier this year. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he believes marriage should remain between heterosexual couples.

June 22, 2012 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When asked which candidate Americans trust to do a better job of handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, there was little change; 52 percent side with Obama"

which explains why Obama is pushing hard trying to get everyone all excited about Trayvon and the "war on women" and gay "marriage" and de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants

he's trying to distract everyone from the suffering he's caused Americans with his inept mishandling of our economy

won't work

it's the economy, stupid

you know, every time a gay pride parade is held, the homosexual advocacy movement takes a hit

the sick and perverted exhibitionism displays perfectly what happens when gays have no restraints put on their behavior

now that we have a gay President, the same thing is happening when gays come calling on their new buddy-boy:

"If several raised fingers are any indication, some LGBT activists who visited the White House last week are fully evolved on what they think of President Ronald Reagan.

In a photo, Philadelphia photographer Zoe Strauss is pictured waving two middle fingers at Reagan's presidential portrait. She did, at least, have the courtesy to tag Reagan in the photo when she put it up on facebook.

Strauss joined Matty Hart, national director of public engagement at Solutions for Progress, in using the White House's 2012 LGBT pride reception to express his rude distaste for the late Republican president. On Friday, Hart posted a similar photo on Facebook, accompanied by a certain four-letter word and the ex-commander in chief's last name.

Hart, who said he takes issue with Reagan's handling of the AIDS epidemic, was unapologetic a week later.

"Reagan was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so," Hart told the Philly Post.

In a statement Friday, Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said, "These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult."

The three Philadelphia-based activists were part of an East Room reception on June 16 marking LGBT Pride Month. President Barack Obama told attendees that he would be their "fellow advocate," saying he and first lady Michele Obama "have made up our minds" on marriage equality.

He then turned to a painting of George W. Bush and flipped the bird."

June 22, 2012 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I can imagine -- GWB's presidency was an embarrassment to us all. What a moron.

June 22, 2012 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, I don't know

he wasn't a great leader but we were blessed not to have the alternative, Al Gore

homosexual activists show their true colors any time given a chance

it's why no one need worry that gay marriage will ever be enacted by an election in America

June 22, 2012 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's true

S&M "pride" floats with simulated sex and real nakedness

obscene gestures in the White House

let's face it

they're an embarassment to themselves and their families

June 22, 2012 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I just love Reba and Dolly.

June 23, 2012 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you ever dress up like Dolly in class, Robo?

June 23, 2012 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

No, dearest. Did you?

I would marry Dolly Parton. I doubt she would marry me, but a man can always hope.

Come, tell, what's your favorite Dolly song?

June 23, 2012 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"here you come again"

Robert, baby doll, you know I don't put girl clothes on

your club, GSA, supports Cross Dressing Day at public schools so I thought you might support the cause

sounds like you think listening to Dolly Parton is effective reparative therapy

keep it on the downlow

if you're not careful, you'll mess up the whole gay agenda!!

June 23, 2012 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Just so you know, there is no national organization called "GSA". I neither am a member nor a sponsor of any Gay-Straight Alliance. The clubs I sponsor are the Latin Honor Society and the school chapter of the Junior Classical League.

Accuracy is important, dearest.

June 26, 2012 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another bit of accuracy: Voter ID laws enacted by State GOP Parties are not about voter fraud.

They are about, as Pennsylvania GOP Leader [Mike Turzai said]: Voter ID Will Help Romney Win State

"...“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation - abortion facility regulations - in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” Turzai said at this weekend’s Republican State Committee meeting.

...“Rep. Turzai was speaking at a partisan, political event, a Republican state committee,” Miskin said. “He was simply referencing that for the first time in a long while, the Republican presidential candidate will be on a more even keel thanks to voter ID. The reference is nothing more than that to a statewide Republican crowd.”...".


Warning, facts ahead:

"The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) in an attempt to discredit a NAACP report this week on the lack of voter fraud evidence has bolstered the view that there is no need for voter ID laws, imposed by many states. The RNLA produced data showing 46 states and various convictions for voter fraud. Presumably by their absence, 4 states and the District of Columbia had no convictions.

Viewing the data for the period 2000-2010, the report by its own account shows there is no link between voter fraud in states and the need for stricter voter ID laws. The data shows that during the entire 10 year period, 21 states had only 1 or 2 convictions for some form of voter irregularity. And some of these 21 states have the strictest form of voter ID laws based on a finding of 2 or less convictions in ten years. Five states had a total of three convictions over a ten year period. Rhode Island had 4 convictions for the same 10 years. Taking a close look at the RNLA data shows 30 states, including the District of Columbia had 3 or less voter fraud convictions for a 10 year period."

June 26, 2012 5:44 PM  
Anonymous toby keith tickets said...

I saw Toby a few years back at the X and it was a great show! I think the part I loved the most was when he got out his red, white, and blue guitar and sang,and my cheap tickets . Then, they showed a Navyman on the screen. 8

June 28, 2012 7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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October 29, 2012 6:59 AM  
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November 13, 2018 8:33 AM  

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