After our show in Tampa, I was talking to a booker. He asked if I had encountered homophobia because being a gay country artist is not common.
Yes, I said.
Homophobia, bigotry, anti-gay, whatever you call it, it is pervasive in the music business, especially in country music.
Multiple bookers at multiple venues have made it clear The Paisley Fields are not welcome because we are a queer country band.
We define The Paisley Fields as a queer country band, and I am an openly gay artist.
I was not always so open about my sexuality.
In my last musical incarnation, I was on a small record label in NY. The label encouraged me to stay in the closet.
So I did.
It took a long time for me to tell a crowd of strangers that I’m gay. Performing leaves you vulnerable and exposed.
Openly discussing my sexuality left me more exposed, but I also felt more liberated.
There is power in dropping the pretense, in showing your true self.
Me being a gay man often comes up at shows. It used to be hard for me to talk about, but the more I speak about it, the easier it is.
Being more visible as a gay man increases the profile of the LGBTQ community. It shows people how normal we are.
People may start to see us as humans and not just homos.
I may still get dirty looks when I walk into a venue in a sparkly shirt (I’m looking at you, Roanoke).
I worry some person might retaliate, turning their hate into violence.
Some people laugh at me.
It doesn’t change who I am. It took me so long to get here.
I am a queer country singer.