The 55th annual Country Music Association Awards, held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, aired on Wednesday, Nov. 19 to an anticipatory audience assembled in the venue and watching from home. From Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood to Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen, the award show had talent in droves as stars received awards and took to the stage to sing last night.
One notable award went to the Brothers Osborne for Vocal Duo of the Year. they rose to applause from the audience, and in a meaningful gesture for T.J. — who came out this past February — he leaned over to kiss his boyfriend.
During the duo’s acceptance speech, T.J. Osborne said that fans’ support during this year primarily has meant the world to him.
“It’s been a crazy roller coaster of a year for us in so many ways, especially for me emotionally, and to have you all support me — it really does feel like love wins tonight. Thank you.”
The Brothers Osborne also performed a song that Osborne wrote after coming out earlier this year. He prefaced the moment by saying that he wishes his younger self could see him now.
“There was so many things that were so many hurdles for me. And I always felt, truthfully felt, like it would never be possible because of my sexuality to be here. And I just wish, I wish, my younger me could see me now.”
He spoke with Time about being comfortable with his sexuality but still feeling guarded, which was a weird dynamic to navigate.
“I’m very comfortable being gay. I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange.”
As Time noted in its interview with T.J. Osborne earlier this year, he is the only openly gay country artist to be signed to a major label.