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via @GLAAD on Instagram.

Orville Peck turned up to the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on Saturday with someone special on his arm. The “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other” crooner walked the red carpet hand in hand with his partner William Mikelson. The appearance was the first time the pair have been publicly identified as a couple.

Peck was at the event to accept the GLAAD Vito Russo Award. That honor is named for Vito Russo, a founding member of the organization, and is presented annually to an out media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Prior recipients have included RuPaul, Tom Ford, Cynthia Nixon, Ricky Martin, Billy Porter, Samira Wiley, Wilson Cruz, and Jonathan Van Ness. 

For those who didn’t catch Peck and Mickelson on the red carpet, Lawrence brought attention to the couple in her introduction after taking shots at former Vice President Mike Pence (“I know conversion therapy doesn’t work — did you hear me Mike Pence?”). 

“Billy grew up in a religious household and struggled with accepting his sexuality for a long time,” she said of Mikelson. “When he met Orville, he described falling in love as healing. Orville had a different upbringing. His mom loved and accepted him. And because of that she made a boy that loved himself and listened to himself.” Lawrence became emotional during her speech, her voice breaking. 

In his acceptance speech, Peck also mentioned Mikelson, with whom he has also spotted at this year’s Elton John AIDS Foundation Party. After discussing how he came to country music, perplexed by its homophobia, the Willie Nelson and Shania Twain collaborator spoke of how he made space for himself in the genre.

“I am just one of many of us that at one time or another felt excluded or held back because of who we are,” he said. “Whether that be a genre, a culture, sport, a job, a school, a friendship or even our own families. But we as a community have always had the incredible power to take our hurt and our tragedy and turn them around as art, humor, and culture.”

“I am so proud to work with GLAAD in making country music more diverse, and the world at large more diverse and more of an understanding and loving place,” he continued later. “In closing, I would like to thank my beautifully encouraging family, friends, and my incredible partner Billy. Thank you for encouraging me to be myself, which is a skill I hope I can pass on to others.”


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This weekend, Peck released “Stampede: Vol 1,” an album of country duets that include names like Nelson, Elton John, Noah Cyrus and more.

The 35th annual GLAAD Media Awards also honored the likes of Jennifer Hudson. The ceremony was notably picketed by a group from ACT UP NY. Drag performer and protestor Chiquitita also interrupted Ross Matthews inside the event, yelling “GLAAD is complicit in genocide” over and over, following a presented montage about drag being political from its origins. Chiquita was escorted out of the event.


Orville and his partner Billy Mikelson 🥹💖
byu/glitteryrainbows88 inOrvillePeck