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First ever CMGAYs celebrates inclusion in country music

First ever CMgAys celebrates inclusion in country music
Posted at 9:36 PM, Jun 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 07:58:55-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — With CMA Fest overlapping during National Pride Month, the first ever CMgAys was held on the rooftop of the Guthrie North Gulch.

"For once it's not just the norm," said performer Brynden Foster. "Like, this is a different crowd of people."

The event was an opportunity for LGBTQIA+ country talent to showcase their skills.

"It's important for this type of event in our community because it gives our community a nucleus, a place to go," said CMgAys founder, David Michael Hawkins.

A portion of ticket sales and sponsorship's went to The Trevor Project.

"As I looked toward June- which is National Pride Month to find where I might see or support or find a showcase for LGBTQ music talent I couldn't find it," said Hawkins. "So one of my favorite sayings is 'if you can’t find a seat at the table then you have to build your own table' and so this is my table."

It was an opportunity to perform a genre of music that has historically lacked representation.

"Country music isn't normally very forward about the LGBTQ+ community, so to have an event that is so supportive of the community I think was really exciting," said Foster.

It comes as more artists like T.J. Osborne are coming out in the industry, paving the way for others.

"I think that it's still a slow progress, but even in the past six months I've seen more artists come forward on Instagram that are like 'I sing country music primarily and I am gay' or 'I am a lesbian' and that's something that we didn't see prior to that," Foster said.

It's progress that's being celebrated on stages like the CMgAys.

"It also shows to the country music fans that are existing that even though we may have been back up singers, or hair and makeup, or set designers, or sound engineers, that we also deserve to be front men and women and what better way to do that than to give people the opportunity to build their muscles up and showcase their talents," said Hawkins.

Among the event's sponsors included Music City Prep, The Guthrie North Gulch, Pinnacle Bank Capitol View Branch, H Bar C Ranchwear, LGBTQ Nash and Canvas Nashville.