Country singer Maren Morris says she may skip the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards because she feels "uncomfortable" after calling out the industry's transphobia.
Morris told The Los Angeles Times she still hasn't "decided if I’m gonna go" after calling out fellow country singer Jason Aldean’s wife Brittany Kerr Aldean for making a transphobic remark about gender-affirming care for transgender children.
Late last month, Brittany Kerr Aldean sparked outrage after she said she would "really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase." Her remarks proved so contentious her husband's longtime PR firm dropped him.
Morris says she feels like the odd woman out given the very public nature of the feud, saying she hates feeling like a "hall monitor" for championing basic human decency.
“I hate feeling like I need to be the hall monitor of treating people like human beings in country music. It’s exhausting."
"But there’s a very insidious culture of people feeling very comfortable being transphobic and homophobic and racist, and that they can wrap it in a joke and no one will ever call them out for it."
"It just becomes normal for people to behave like that.”
Morris said anti-trans sentiment being disseminated through conservative media outlets as well as a culture of misinformation has created an environment where transgender people can't feel safe without facing threats to their very existence.
She added people then dig their heels in despite being challenged on the misinformation they spread themselves, noting a Boston hospital recently received a bomb threat from a conservative who objected to its transgender treatment program.
“It’s not, ‘Oh, this is bad, and this is good, and we can agree to disagree.’ No, we can’t, and you are being fed information that is false."
"And even though you’re not the one with the bullet in the gun, your words matter. Your disinformation matters."
"That hospital in Boston just had a bomb threat because people who listen to that rhetoric literally think they’re mutilating kids and don’t bother reading any sort of actual study on it.”
Despite her discomfort, Morris—whose album Humble Quest was nominated for a CMA Award—said she doesn't regret speaking out against Kerr Aldean's rhetoric.
“The whole ‘When they go low, we go high’ thing doesn’t work with these people. Any resistance movement is not done with kind words."
"And there’s a lot worse things I could’ve called her. I sleep pretty good at night knowing that people feel safer in my crowd.”
Many praised Morris for her conviction and commitment to being an ally for the transgender community.
Morris chose to flip the script, announcing via her official Twitter account she would raise money by selling T-shirts with Carlson’s quote on the front alongside the Peer Support and Crisis Hotline for transgender youth and the GLAAD Transgender Media Program.
She later announced she'd successfully raised over $100,000 for transgender organizations over the Labor Day weekend.