[Refinery 29] How Country Music Became A Safe(r) Space For LGBTQ+ Artists

When you're a gay teenager who grows up in the South, it's just as hard to avoid country music as it is easy to realize that country music isn't made for you. Sure, country songs are brimming with love stories (some happy, some sad, and some furious), but good luck finding a song or music video in which two men fall in love under the twinkling stars or a woman mourns the loss of her girlfriend. (And if you're looking for country music about questioning your gender, forget it). For a long time, it seemed as if country music and LGBTQ+ people were like oil and vinegar. But even oil and vinegar mix if you shake them hard enough, and in the past few years, several country stars have done their best to shake up the industry.