Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles gave an impassioned speech when she was honored by the Human Rights Campaign for her support of the LGBTQ community in Nashville on March 2.

The HRC's 2019 Nashville Dinner took place at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel on March 2, and Nettles was on hand to receive the Ally for Equality Award for her support of the community and work to raise awareness of the impact of hate speech and the importance of supporting LGBTQ youth.

Nettles delivered an emotional speech at the ceremony, urging the country music community to move forward in voicing more public support for the LGBTQ community.

"We artists are these bridge builders," she says from the podium in a video the HRC shared to social media. "These artful bridges not only help us to connect ideas, but they help us to connect to each other. And for this reason, we most specifically in the country community have a wonderful opportunity right now."

"I want to encourage all of my peers, all of my open-hearted and inclusive peers and friends in the county genre to let their hearts and voices be heard in support of the LGBTQ community. And the thing is, it doesn't have to be politically charged and finger-pointing or basic in naming rights and wrongs," Nettles continues. "It can be simply sharing what you feel like."

Nettles points to a song titled "Tony" that Sugarland played on the road on their recent summer tour. The song tells the story of a young gay man, and she says she was approached repeatedly by gay fans at meet and greets across the country, sharing "how happy they were to feel seen and represented within the country community."

The annual HRC Nashville Dinner brought together hundreds of Music City's most ardent LGBTQ supporters and raised money that will go toward fighting for LGBTQ equality.

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