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Jennifer Nettles Stands Up for ‘Inspiring’ Gay Community

Jennifer Nettles
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

Country artists aren’t known for being outright activists for gay rights, but some have still preached acceptance when asked. Carrie Underwood, however, has spoken out about gay rights several times, and Martina McBrideToby Keith and Dolly Parton have joined her. Now, it’s Jennifer Nettles who is making her stance known.

Nettles began her career in the ’90s in Atlanta, and it was there she developed a big gay and lesbian following. She wants country as a genre to start being a little more accepting towards these individuals.

“It’s exciting to see within the country genre, yet at the same time, for me in terms of social motivation and evolution and moving forward, I always feel — be it within a music genre or a religious movement or whatever — like, ‘OK, come on, let’s move faster,” Nettles explains to PrideSource. “Let’s get there faster. Let’s get it done.”

“This should have already been behind us,” the ‘Me Without You’ hitmaker adds. “So I am excited about it, but I want it to continue and be more.”

Nettles has never quite fit in the mold of traditional country, from being a part of Sugarland to her solo project, but she says she’s not trying to speak out for a traditional group. She just wants to be open and honest — for herself.

“The resounding message here is authenticity,” Nettles shares. “Within the gay community, the courage it takes to be one’s authentic self — even if you’re viewed as different — is inspiring. Consequently there is definitely a connection in that degree of authenticity — and doing it because you gotta be who you are — that connects my music with the gay community.”

It’s no surprise that Nettles watched the 2014 Grammys with pride. During music’s biggest night, Queen Latifah officiated a wedding ceremony which had several same-sex couples (Keith Urban shed tears). The next day, Nettles ran into Queen Latifah, and the pair discussed their wishes for the future of gay rights.

“She said, and very rightfully so, that a few years from now this won’t even be a conversation,” Nettles describes. “And wouldn’t that be nice to be able to look back at history and, like we have any time there’s a violation of civil rights and human rights, go, God, I can’t even believe we were there, ever.’”

The country star is so much in support of equal rights that she wouldn’t bat an eye if her one-year-old son came out to her one day.

“I would say, ‘Be happy,’” she admits. “Look, he can be anything he wants in any fashion, be it by his job or who he loves or whatever. He won’t be an a–hole, and I hope he doesn’t go to the dark side in any kind of addiction, but otherwise [I'd say], ‘Love and live and just be happy — and I hope you find your true prince.’”

Next: Willie Nelson Talks Gay Marriage

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