Inside Taylor Swift’s Bold Anti-Trump LGBTQ Stand: ‘Treat All of Our Citizens Equally’
The global icon penned an open letter in support of the Equality Act. After staying silent during the 2016 election, Swift has changed course in a big way.
This Pride, Taylor Swift is coming out… as a vocal ally.
A few years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine the famously brand-obsessed pop star urging her fans to write their senators. But late Friday, the woman behind girl-squad feminism and politely ignoring her neo-Nazi admirers finally took a stand. The fact that that stand was advocating on behalf of the Equality Act—which recently passed the House and must now be approved by the GOP-controlled Senate—and expounding on the importance of protections for LGBTQ Americans was not lost on some of Swift’s biggest fans.
But before we get to Kaylor (the portmanteau for Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift’s hypothetical romantic relationship) and some of the more conspiratorial corners of Taylor Swift's fan base, let’s talk activist Taylor Alison.
Just a few album cycles ago, Swift was getting called out for her political silence. Her reticence to tell fans who she was voting for in 2016 stuck out as particularly craven. Given Swift’s background as a country-to-pop crossover artist, it’s easy to guess at her rationale. Considering a Venn diagram of country fans and Trump supporters, Swift may have understandably chosen to put her Hillary Clinton cape back in the closet so as not to piss off paying customers (when it comes to her brand and her career, Swift is a smart lady). But in the midst of an increasingly dystopian Trump era, her apoliticism has aged poorly. Either the singer sensed the woker Swifties turning against her, or she simply could not stomach doing nothing.
Whatever her motives, last year Swift shocked her followers by publicly endorsing two Democrats and strongly disavowing Republican Marsha Blackburn for Senate. “She voted against equal pay for women,” Swift informed her followers. “She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry.” The singer declared, “These are not MY Tennessee values.”
Watching Taylor Swift weigh in on the midterms was about as disorienting as watching her walk away from paparazzi backwards. And just like her crab walk, Taylor’s activism has quickly become commonplace.
Her latest statements are in many ways a continuation of the priorities she expressed last year, when she declared that, “any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.” But, in addition to being as well-intentioned and strongly-worded as her previous political forays, Swift’s latest statement has the added bonus of being gay as hell. Printed on the rainbow pastel color palette that the pop star’s been so fond of lately, Swift’s post intersperses sincere exhortations with rainbow emojis. Writing about the Equality Act, “Which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations,” Swift explains that, “I’ve decided to kick off Pride Month by writing a letter to one of my senators to explain how strongly I feel that the Equality Act should be passed.” (The Trump White House has voiced their opposition to the Equality Act, as it continues to roll back protections against LGBTQ citizens.)
Swift goes on to reveal that she has created a Change.org petition for Senate support of the Equality Act, which you can find in her recently updated Twitter bio (so far, nearly 80,000 people have signed it). In her post, Swift also included a copy of the letter she sent to her senator as a template for fans to pressure their own elected officials.
“Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally,” Swift concluded.
The pop star’s thoughtful remarks have caused a vocal subsection of her fan base to lose their shit. Yes, Kaylor shippers do exist, as do diehard fans who have interpreted many of Swift’s recent actions as covert queer messages. For years now, sleuths have attempted to prove that Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss were totally a thing (skeptics should listen to “Dress” and then get back to me). But as Swift teased her new music in April, #Gaylor conjecture reached an all-time high. At Vulture, Jill Gutowitz faithfully gathered Swift’s breadcrumbs, many of which fell on a spectrum from subtly to overtly Sapphic.
“Sometimes I think about men who sanctimoniously say their favorite movie is The Prestige and I’m like, you frauds could never handle a Taylor Swift pre-album clue trail,” Gutowitz wrote. In a piece titled “Why So Many of Us Believed Taylor Swift Was Coming Out,” BuzzFeed’s Shannon Keating summarized, Kissgate. All those rainbows! Swapped lyrics featuring female pronouns. Lyrics that just seem really gay. The cats. The donations to LGBT causes. That performance with Hayley Kiyoko. Today, April 26, the day of Taylor Swift’s long-awaited announcement, is literally Lesbian Visibility Day.”
Unfortunately for us believers, “Me” was just a music video—albeit, a very gay music video featuring “pansexual icon” Brendon Urie and a phalanx of ladies in pastel suits (is this camp?!). “The gayest not-gay thing we’ve ever seen,” indeed. Now that Taylor Swift’s totally rainbow Twitter profile reads “Support the Equality Act,” it’ll be near impossible to dissuade #Gaylor truthers—and it’s hard to imagine that Swift doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing.
“I really thought Taylor was coming out this time,” Shannon Keating concluded after the “Me” letdown. “I really did! Now, there’s a big part of me — the grouchy and cynical part — that feels like the rollout for Taylor’s new song and video was a calculated attempt to queerbait us all before she turned on her glittery heels and announced that ‘Me’ would be… the soundtrack to more of the NFL draft. But there’s another part of me that has to grudgingly respect how she whipped a bunch of full-grown gays who ‘don’t really care about Taylor Swift’ into such a frenzy.”
As long as Swift is using her outsized influence to fight for LGBTQ causes, she can go ahead and keep us guessing.