Scott Haggerty, a well-known country music artist, passed away at the age of 78.

Patrick Haggerty, widely regarded as the first openly gay country musician to ever exist, passed away surrounded by his partner and children.

He could spend his final days at home in the loving embrace of family, according to a statement on his band’s Instagram page, before succumbing to a stroke.

The band’s name and debut album were titled Lavender Country, indicating a watershed moment for queer representation in the country music industry as it was the first known gay-themed record to be released.

According to the Journal of Country Music, Lavender Country sparked an entire movement within the genre and pushed forward discussions about LGBTQ+ rights that are still ongoing today.

The band reflected on Haggerty’s legacy and memory in a statement paying tribute to heritage and memory, encouraging people to show love and unity for one another.

Patrick Haggerty left a lasting legacy of inclusivity by accomplishing what seemed almost impossible at the time—making a place for himself as a queer artist within a historically traditional genre.

Lavender Country, a Seattle, Washington-based folk-country band, released their debut album in 1973. It featured Patrick Haggerty (lead vocals and guitar), Michael Carr (keyboardist), Eve Morris (vocalist and fiddler), and Robert Hammerstrom (guitarist). The record was limited to 1,000 copies and distributed by Gay Community Social Services.

Many people were captivated by the upbeat melodies of “Cryin’ These Cockeroo Tears” and “Come Out Singing,” which marked the beginning of Lavender Country’s career.

Lavender Country released their second studio album, Blackberry Rose, in 2022, while their lineup changed over the years, with Haggerty as the frontman.

They performed at Pride and LGBT events all over the West Coast. Lavender Country disbanded in 1976 after a three-year journey together, but they left an imprint on many people’s hearts.

It wasn’t until 2000 that an article about gay country musicians rekindled interest in Lavender Country, prompting them to reunite for one final performance. They also released a five-song EP titled Lavender Country Revisited, which included two new songs and rerecordings from their classic debut album.

These songs continue to resonate with many listeners today as a reminder of LGBT pride and courage in the face of discrimination in the 1970s.

Patrick Haggerty, composer, fearless campaigner, and storyteller behind Lavender Country, sadly passed away. He was a well-known music industry figure known for his anti-fascist efforts and for incorporating his activism into his art.

The label re-released Lavender Country’s debut album in 2014, which was accompanied by a series of reunion concerts. In 2016, he was featured in an SXSW documentary film titled These C*cksucking Tears, directed by Dan Taberski, which solidified him as an inspiration to many.

Haggerty recently spoke positively to Pitchfork magazine about how it felt to combine his two passions of activism and art while performing: “It’s pretty amazing to realize that my anti-fascist work and my art have become entwined.”

“I’ve completed the circle. My life’s work allows me to use my artistic talent and ham-fistedness to perform as a screamy Marxist swine on stage. I am free to be who I truly am “.

Those close to him and beyond have been deeply affected by his death, with colleagues, fans, friends, and family mourning from afar due to the ongoing pandemic, which has prevented them from being by Haggerty’s side during this difficult time.

He will be remembered for many years for his activism and for creating such a distinct sound within Lavender Country, which heavily influenced modern music today.

Patrick’s long-awaited recognition came with his 1973 album, which is regarded as the first openly gay country record. In our eyes, Patrick was much more than a hero; he was someone we could look up to, collaborate with, and even consider as a replacement for family.

Patrick was giving sporadic concerts at nursing homes then and felt as if Lavender Country had passed him by. Music was no longer an occupation for him but rather a pleasurable pastime.

His stirring melodies and admirable behavior – as a musician, social activist, and father figure – continue to inspire me today, as he demonstrated how to stand up to bigotry while spreading messages of affection firmly. “Do not be sneaky,” his wise father advised.

I extend my heartfelt condolences on behalf of everyone who loved him as much as we did.