You know how they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity? And also how they say don’t feed the trolls?
Well, in a convergence of the two I have discovered The Brothers Osborne, a country music duo who are, I have on good authority, brothers. They’re also really good.
See, I don’t listen to country music very much. I’m more of an Ozzy Osbourne fan, myself. But I do love me a good gay musician.
So thank you to Rep. Jeremy Faison, a Republican who made sure to kill a resolution to honor T.J. Osborne even though it had unanimously passed in the state senate. Now you see, Faison had no choice but to send the bill to committee — which is done for the year, but oh well, what can you do? — because of a procedural objection. It’s simply Republicans’ deep, deep love for the rules that cause them to look like they’re bad faith actors. Again. What bad luck they have.
But, of course, we all know that Faison did it because the T.J. half of the Brothers Osborne is gay. The other half is John. He plays guitar. Hi, John.
“I’m very comfortable being gay,” T.J. told Time magazine.
John is comfortable with it as well.
“If I had to have all my money and success erased for my brother to be truly fulfilled in life,” John told Time, “I wouldn’t even think about it. Not for a second.”
According to Variety Magazine the resolution states, “Though T.J. Osborne is not the first country music artist to come out as gay, he is the first and currently only openly gay artist signed to a major country label” and “though it may have been merely a consequence of being true to himself, he has nonetheless become a trailblazer and a symbol of hope for those country music artists and fans alike who may have become ostracized from a genre they hold dear.”
And T.J. has expressed concerns.
“I don’t think I’m going to get run off the stage in Chicago,” he told Time. “But in a rural town playing a county fair? I’m curious how this will go.”
Well, consider Faison the legislative equivalent of a rural town county fair, then.
From what I’ve read and seen, Faison didn’t say, “That’s gay” and do a little thumbs-down curtsey or anything. But Faison has a long history of anti-gay creepdom, so we’re just calling it like we see it.
According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Faison has supported bills to let adoption agencies discriminate against same-sex couples and in he was one of 53 legislators who signed on to a motion regarding a lesbian couple’s divorce advocating that the non-biological mother of the couple’s child is not a real mother and should have no rights to the child.
Perhaps his most egregious anti-LGBTQ+ action was in 2012 when he said spoke out against a cyberbullying bill regarding LGBTQ+ youth suicides.
“We can’t continue to legislate everything,” he said. “We’ve had some horrible things happen in America and in our state, and there’s children that have actually committed suicide, but I will submit to you today that they did not commit suicide because of somebody bullying them. They committed suicide because they were not instilled the proper principles of where their self-esteem came from at home.”
In other words, LGBTQ+ kids kill themselves because they have bad parents who didn’t work hard enough to raise heterosexual, gender-normative kids. A very ugly take.
The Tennessee Holler posted a video of Faison sending the bill back to the closed committee on Twitter. The Brothers Osborne retweeted it along with a message for Faison: “We’ve lived in this state for over half of our lives. [Faison] honored Ben Shapiro who doesn’t even live here. Jeremy, let’s have lunch one day. On us. Would really like to know more about you as a person.”
Now that’s a classy response.
Faison responded with, “I would be honored to break bread with you.” Not honored enough to, like, publicly honor T.J. in, like, an official way. But yeah, so honored.
I hope that Faison studies his The Brothers Osborne lyrics before he meets them. Because with T.J. gay and all, that means when he sings about people taking each other’s T-shirts off in the hit song “Stay a Little Longer,” he’s taking off another guy’s shirt and that guy is taking off his shirt and he’s inviting the guy to stay so they can continue to create a clothes pile on the floor. In short, it’s gay. Honestly, though, this whole thing is probably very confusing to Faison, right down to the fact that there’s no woman in this scenario to do all that laundry.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.