TJ Osborne on How He's Been Received in Country Music Community Since Coming Out as Gay
By Liz Calvario
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMA
T.J. Osbourne is feeling the love. The 36-year-old country singer came out as gay earlier this month, and has been getting nothing but support from the country music community and fans.
"It has been amazing, honestly," the Brothers Osborne singer expressed during Friday's CBS This Morning, adding that he "would encourage anyone else out there dealing with the same thing" to share their story. "It's a hard thing to describe and a very difficult thing to go through, and I even had support around me. But once I finally came out, I didn't really understand the magnitude of how much people cared about me and loved me and supported me."
"Had I known that the whole time, I would have probably done it a long time ago and saved myself a lot of strife," he continued. "Anyone out there, if you're dealing with that, there's people that love you and people that support you a lot. Be encouraged by that."
When asked if he discussed coming out with his family before he shared the news publicly, he said that those closest to him had known.
"It has been a tsunami of love, almost to the point that it was hard for me to comprehend it for several days," T.J. said. "My close family and friends have known for a while. At the same time, I felt publicly I was stuck in a second gear phase."
"Honestly, for straight people out there, coming out is really awkward. It's an awkward thing to talk about," he said. "It's a really odd thing to bring up. I work in the entertainment business so I like lots of attention, but not that kind. That type of attention is just uncomfortable. To be able to do that in that moment, in one full swoop, it was nice… For me, it was that moment of just taking a leap of faith."
On Feb. 3, in an interview with Time, T.J. shared that he's known he was gay since he was young and that he has been out to friends and family for years.
"I'm very comfortable being gay," he 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."
While he is comfortable with his sexuality, he acknowledged that more conservative country music audiences might not be.
"People will ask, 'Why does this even need to be talked about?' and personally, I agree with that," he relayed of discussing his sexuality. "But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn't be like, 'Oh, cool!'"
"I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am," he noted. "I mean, I am who I am, but I've kept a part of me muted, and it's been stifling."
Following the news, many other country artists like Kacey Musgraves, Dan + Shay and Cassadee Pope showed their support for T.J. on social media.