There are no limits to love or music. For a very long time, country music has been linked to emotional storytelling that captures the spirit of life’s victories, setbacks, and everything in between. Despite the conservative and traditional ideals of the genre, a new generation of inspired LGBTQ+ country performers is shattering barriers in the business and defying preconceptions.
The singers listed below are trailblazers who are still breaking barriers and providing opportunities for upcoming LGBTQ+ performers in the country music scene. These are the top 30 LGBTQ+ performers in country music that you should be listening to.
Lil Nas X
Although Lil Nas X mostly creates hip-hop and pop music, his breakthrough single was the number-one country crossover hit “Old Town Road.” Before being removed off the list, this country rap song reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.
Simply put, one of the best Americana and country musicians of all time is Bandi Carlile. Throughout her career, the lesbian singer has put out seven studio albums and received eighteen Grammy nominations. She has also written and produced songs for country music icon Tanya Tucker, performed solo, and collaborated with Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby in the supergroup The Highwomen.
After coming out as homosexual in 2021, T.J., one-half of the country duet The Brothers Osborne, still records songs with his band. The band has received an Academy of Country Music Award for Vocal Duo of the Year and its first Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance since T.J. came out.
2015 saw composer and performer Brandy Clark, a lesbian singer, get a Grammy nomination for Best New Performer. She has written songs for Miranda Lambert, the Band Perry, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, and Kacey Musgraves in addition to releasing her own country hits.
The first-ever country artist to receive the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist was Lily Rose in 2024. She is also a member of CMT’s Next Women of Country class of 2024.
One of the best producers and composers in country music is homosexual. He’s produced songs for singers including Kelly Clarkson, Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Walker Hayes, Old Dominion, and Midland, as well as albums like Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer Different Park and Pageant Material.
Orville Peck sings slow-burning country ballads that will bring a tear to the eyes of any cowboy, all thanks to his rich voice and fringed mask. He’s put out two albums, Bronco and Pony.
Wright started her country music career in secret, but as her fame rose, she made the decision to go public in 2010 with the release of her biography and CD Lifted Off the Ground. The album is one of the most exquisite country albums of the 2010s and delves deeply into her coming-out experience.
Long before he officially claimed it as his own, Paisley Fields had been performing under that moniker. “In the ten years that I’ve been playing as Paisley Fields, I think I’ve matured significantly. Perhaps Paisley would be a better name for me because I consider myself to be more non-binary. Something about it seems more organic.” Two albums have been released by him: Electric Park Ballroom and Glitter & Sawdust.
Payne is the son of country music vocalist Sammi Smith and musician Jody Payne. He was rejected by his family after coming out as gay and disclosing that he had been sexually assaulted by an uncle. In 2004, he put out the album The Drifter. He has collaborated on tracks with several artists, including Miranda Lambert and Lee Ann Womack.
RuPaul’s Drag Race royalty Trixie Mattel’s country music is quite amazing, despite her use of exaggerated humor and fun in her drag. Along with Orville Peck, she covered the popular song “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter. She has also recorded a single with Lavender Country.
Brooke Eden started a career in country music following her American Idol audition. In 2021, she disclosed her sexual orientation and her engagement to Hilary Hoover, and she also released two EPs, Brooke Eden and Welcome to the Weekend.
Russell, a Canadian musician, released her debut solo album Outside Child in 2021 after serving as a member of the bands Po’ Girl, Birds of Chicago, and Our Native Daughters. The single “Nightflyer” received two further Grammy nominations, and the album received one nomination for Best Americana Album.
When Herndon came out as homosexual in 2014, most people believed he was the first prominent male country music singer to do so. Before it, he scored three number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Chart: “What Mattered Most,” “Living in a Moment,” and “It Must Be Love.” He also recorded 10 studio albums between 1995 and 2024.
When Gilman’s then-11-year-old song “One Voice” cracked the top twenty in 2000, it made her the youngest artist ever to achieve a top 40 country hit. For the song, he received a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. After seeing country music artist Ty Herndon’s 2014 coming out, Gilman came out as a young guy. In 2016, he participated in The Voice competition and finished in second place.
Before making her breakthrough in the country music industry, Harper Grae Grae was in the reality show The Glee Project. She recorded numerous songs before releasing her second album, Confessions of a Good Southern Lady, in 2024. Her first album, Break Your Crowns, was published in 2017.
Pruit was included in Rolling Stone’s 2018 list of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.” 2020 saw the release of her debut album, Expectations. The album examined the relationship between homosexuality and religion, and the song “Loving You” by her is an anthem of self-acceptance about sticking by the people you love no matter what.
Playing the guitar and banjo, Amythyst Kiah has put out two solo albums and one EP. She, along with Allison Russell, belonged to Our Native Daughters. She received a Grammy nomination in 2020 for “Black Myself,” a song on American roots.
You should be listening to these 28 LGBTQ+ country music musicians. Through the power of song, they are bravely expressing who they truly are, shifting the narrative and demonstrating that the fundamental elements of what makes country music so potent are love, resiliency, and a variety of experiences.
As a means of encouraging the development and evolution of country music and spreading acceptance and inclusion around the globe, let’s honor and support these musicians.