Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman revealed they were gay during a groundbreaking five-hour stretch in November 2014. Prior to that, only a handful of country singers and songwriters were open about being gay.

Chely Wright was the first household country name to come out when she stepped out with Lauren Blitzer in May 2010. She received instant backlash and some surprising support. And — intentionally or not — she made the issue one the country music community needed to consider. Prior to her, very very few stars were willing admit an attraction to the same sex.