More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Country Group Little Big Town Covers Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way'
Country music's relationship with the LGBT community may have had its ups and downs, but one Nashville band is clearly declaring themselves allies with their cover of the Lady Gaga's paean to diversity and acceptance, "Born This Way."
Little Big Town has seen their profile rise greatly over the last decade, having landed twelve songs on the country charts and currently touring with country megastars Sugarland. As part of their popular "Scattered, Smothered, and Covered" series - in which the group performs live covers of contemporary pop songs with a country flair - Little Big Town has selected one of the most explicitly inclusive songs ever in terms of LGBT people thanks to lyrics like "No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian transgender life." As you can see below, the group proudly sings those same lyrics for an enthusiastic crowd, some of whom had obviously hoped to hear them perform the song based on the requests being shouted from the audience.
This is actually the group's second posted video of their "Born This Way" cover, the first of which you can see posted on their website. That shorter version of the song cut out some of the song's original LGBT specific lyrics, which in turn left quite a few fans hoping for a more faithful rendition as evidenced by the comments that were left behind. With this new video, it's obvious the band was more than happy to oblige.
There has long been an assumption that your average country music fan leans more towards the conservative end of the political and social spectrum (see: The Dixie Chicks backlash). But unlike what we've seen with certain artists in other genres, homophobia has rarely been openly displayed by country music's stars. The fact of the matter is, it's still relatively rare for anyone in the Nashville stratosphere to acknowledge the existence of the LGBT community at all.
That's part of the reason why established country music star Chely Wright made such a huge splash last year when she surprised many by coming out as a lesbian. And it's also why a band like Little Big Town can make a truly significant impact even just by covering a song which many of their fans may not have paid much attention to before. Hopefully these are signs that the LGBT community and the world of country music might not be so alienated from one another in the near future.