Shane McAnally was one of the country artists celebrated at the 2019 ACM Honors on Wednesday.
Receiving the honour of 2019 ACM Songwriter of the Year, the 44-year-old gave an emotional speech about being gay in the country music industry.
“When I came out to my mom, she was so scared that I wouldn’t get this dream, that this wouldn’t happen for me,” McAnally said, according to Billboard Pride. “This town has never for a minute made me feel anything but loved and accepted.”
He continued, “It’s beyond my wildest dreams because not only did I want to be in country music, didn’t know you could write songs for people, didn’t know that was a job, I really didn’t know you could be in country music and be gay.”
McAnally concluded by thanking the supportive people in his life.
“Most importantly, I do have to acknowledge my husband, and it’s so cool to get to say that on this stage. He is the one who dreamed this big for me,” he said. “He tells me every day that I can do anything, and we are living our truth and our dream with our children and our life. Our closer-than-family friend who is going through something, I just want to dedicate this award to our sweet Chelsea and when you say those prayers tonight, mention her name. I love country music and I love this town, thank you very, very much.”
The ACM Honors celebrated the honourees and off-camera category winners from the 2019 Country Music Awards held in April.