Taylor Swift on LGBTQ activism: 'Rights are being stripped from anyone who isn't a straight white cisgender male'

In an interview with Vogue, Taylor Swift explained why she decided to throw her weight publicly behind LGBTQ activism and the Equality Act.
Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Wango Tango concert in Carson
Taylor Swift performs at the iHeartRadio Wango Tango concert in Carson, California, on June 1, 2019.Mario Anzuoni / Reuters file
By Alexander Kacala

In a new interview with “Vogue” magazine, Taylor Swift opens up about the decision she made earlier this year to become more vocal about LGBTQ rights.

In the cover story for the magazine’s seminal September issue, Swift shared a moment when her friend, Todrick Hall, pressed her on what she would do if her son came out as gay.

Swift remembered: “Maybe a year or two ago, Todrick and I are in the car, and he asked me, 'What would you do if your son was gay?'”

“The fact that he had to ask me ... shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough,” she said. “If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question.”

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Swift goes on to explain that if her best friend didn’t know what her response would be, neither would her fans.

“If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking,” she goes on. “It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”

Later in the interview, Swift explains why after years of seemingly being silent on political and social issues, she is speaking out now.

“Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she said. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze. Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”

Earlier this year, Swift donated $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project to combat various anti-LGBTQ bills in the state and collected almost 500,000 signatures on a change.org petition in support of the Equality Act.

Before the 2018 midterms, Swift used her voice to encourage those in Nashville to vote against Republican Marsha Blackburn for Senate, calling out her anti-gay record. “She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples,” Swift wrote on Instagram. “She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values.”

In June, Swift also made a "very generous donation" to the LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD in honor of Pride, which the organization says will be used to create campaigns to fight hate and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

“Taylor Swift continues to use her platform to speak out against discrimination and create a world where everyone can live the life they love,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in an emailed statement at the time. “In today’s divisive political and cultural climate, we need more allies like Taylor, who send positive and uplifting messages to LGBTQ people everywhere.”

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