Maren Morris is making it clear: She stands with drag performers and the rest of the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month. The singer appears on the June cover of Billboard magazine, dressed in drag as Willie Nelson. Maren is front and center on the cover, which you can see here, sporting an all-black outfit, including a black cowboy hat, while wearing a grey wig styled in two braids. She’s surrounded by drag performers Eureka O’Hara, Landon Cider, Sasha Colby and Symone in the powerful image.
Along with the photo shoot, Maren hosted a roundtable with her fellow cover stars to discuss the attempts to ban drag performances in Tennessee and other states, along with other recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislations. “I’m from Texas, I live in Tennessee, and I do love the community I have there, but these bills almost incentivize us to turn on one another,” Maren pointed out while moderating the discussion. “They’re rewarding us to turn each other in, which feels kind of like a Nazi Germany thing where we turn on our own communities.”
She also touched on the “vagueness” of the drag ban bills that are being touted, including in Tennessee. “It’s intentionally hard to know where the line is between what is drag and what is not, and it’s obviously really meant to eradicate the existence of trans people,” Maren said. “I mean, even a lot of these [male] country artist wear tighter jeans than I do!”
A federal district judge deemed the drag ban in Tennessee unconstitutional earlier this month, but confusion and fear has already set in. “In a place like Tennessee, it’s obviously really meant to fearmonger,” Maren explained.
Maren has always been an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has never been afraid to speak out, even though doing so has been frowned upon in the country music community in the past. “I don’t think any of us got into this art form to be an activist, but that’s ultimately thrust upon you to exist in this space and to feel like you can sleep at night,” she admitted. “You’re going to lose fans along the way — that’s just part and parcel of being public-facing. But there is a lane that you’re widening: I see it year after year at my shows. The crowd feels so diverse and safe. I know everyone likes money, but is it worth your biography saying that you never picked a side because both sides pay money to buy a t-shirt?”
In the fall of 2022, Maren made headlines for clapping back at Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany Aldean, after she made an transphobic comment on Instagram. “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human?” Maren tweeted at the time. “Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.”
After the feud, Brittany did an interview on Fox News to defend her ignorant post, and the network branded Maren as a “Lunatic Country Music Person” on-air. Maren then used the phrase for a round of merchandise, which she sold to donate the proceeds to GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program and the Trans Lifeline.