News » Pride

Country Singer T.J. Osborne Comes Out as Gay

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday February 4, 2021

T.J. Osborne, of the country duo Brothers Osborne, has come out as gay in a new interview with Time.

The 36-year-old country star explains that he's known he was gay since he was younger, and has been out to family and friends in Nashville for years. "I'm very comfortable being gay," Osborne said. "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."

Osborne said he wasn't ready to be out earlier in his career and, as a consequence, he neglected relationships. "There are times when I think I've marginalized this part of me so that I feel better about it," he said. "And I realize that it is a big part of who I am: The way I think, the way I act, the way I perform. God, think of all the times that we talk about love, and write about love. It's the biggest thing we ever get to feel. And I've kept the veil on."

How Osborne will be received is another matter, given the traditionally conservative leaning of country as a genre — which has been juxtaposed in recent years with a growing cadre of out performers in country and related genres, such as Billy Gilman, Ty Herndon, Brandy Clark, Chely Wright, Orville Peck, and Brandi Carlile. Osborne is curious too, stating "I don't think I'm going to get run off the stage in Chicago. But in a rural town playing a county fair? I'm curious how this will go."

After the interview was published, Osborne posted a thank-you video for the support he's since received:

Chely Wright also took to social media to commend the singer, saying "Well done, T.J. Osborne, you're nobody's whisper anymore. You have just changed and saved a whole lot of lives; chief among them, your own."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.