T.J. Osborne made LGBTQ+ history this week after he kissed his boyfriend at the Country Music Awards (CMA’s).
On Wednesday (10 November), the openly gay country star and his brother John took home the coveted prize for Best Vocal Duo.
Before heading to the stage to accept his award, T.J. celebrated his win by kissing his boyfriend Abi Ventura.
The beautiful moment between the two was televised, which is a first for the long-running award show.
Once on stage, T.J. opened up about his life-changing year, stating: “It’s been a crazy roller coaster of a year for us in so many ways, especially for me emotionally.”
He continued: “And to have you all support me, it really does feel like love wins tonight. Thank you.”
The heartwarming speech was met with a standing ovation from the audience and a follow-up statement from John.
“Give this boy a round of applause. We love this genre, we love the people, we love all of you so much.”
In a follow-up interview with Entertainment Tonight, T.J. opened up further about bringing his boyfriend and his worries regarding the landmark kiss.
“I was like, ‘I hope this doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable, but this is how I feel,'” he said.
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Even though they were both nervous about the kiss, T.J. went on to say that he was excited to share the moment with his fans.
“I love this person, and I want to be open in every way,” he exclaimed. “Hopefully [it can] show people that they also don’t need to hide or alter themselves in any way.”
T.J.’s monumental moment comes nine months after he came out as gay in an extensive interview with Time Magazine.
In the feature, the 36-year-old revealed to the publication that his family and friends have known about his sexuality 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.”
T.J. also talked about “marginalising” his queerness throughout his career to “feel better about it”, but now realises that his sexuality is a major part of who he is.
“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,” he continued.
“You know that thing—stand for something or you’ll fall for anything? That sounds like something someone in country music would say. But if you stand for something and it’s not what they stand for, then they hate it. I’ve done more than I ever thought I would.
“At this point, my happiness is more valuable than anything else I’d ever be able to achieve.”
Although T.J. isn’t the first country artist to come out, he is the first openly gay artist signed to a major country music label.
Watch the heartfelt moment below.