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Billy Ray Cyrus is leading music stars in the fight against this politically charged issue AP Images
Billy Ray Cyrus arrives at the 57th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Country music and the country music industry is always changing.

While still very conservative, today’s country music has many progressive-thinking fans (and artists) who have become more accepting of alternative lifestyles.

Bruce Springsteen recently cancelled a North Carolina concert in protest to the state passing HB2, a law that dictates which bathroom transgender people can use. Bryan Adams did the same. Now, Billy Ray Cyrus is standing up for the LGBT community.

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“This issue is very important to me,” said Billy Ray. “As a friend and dad… I’ve witnessed this fight from the very beginning. I think everyone should be treated equal.”

Chris Carmack (who plays openly gay character Will Lexington on ABC-TV’s “Nashville”) and songwriter/producer Desmond Child are also speaking out against two Tennessee bills. If signed into law, HB 1840 will allow mental health professionals to refuse treatment to LGBT patients, while HB 2414 will require transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their designated sex at birth, not how they chose to identify.

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“This kind of unnecessary discrimination has no place in this city or the state of Tennessee,” Chris told Rolling Stone. “If these bills get passed, it would have a devastating impact on the lives of so many people… and this represents an enormous step backward in the progress that has been made toward civil liberties for every citizen.”

Based in Chicago but often in Nashville, Ken Churilla is a contributor for Rare Country. Follow him @KenChurilla and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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