Pop singer Taylor Swift is putting herself out there for what she believes in, y’all. Recently Swift donated $113,000 to The Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group in her home state, to help combat an onslaught of various discriminatory bills that have been dubbed the “Slate of Hate.”
Get on with your bad self, Swifty.
If passed in Tennessee, the six bills known as the “Slate of Hate” will — among other things — allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ couples and prevent government agencies from considering a business’s nondiscrimination policies when choosing a contract.
News about Swift’s donation broke when The Tennessee Equality Project posted a photo of her handwritten note addressed to Executive Director Chris Sanders.
“Dear Chris, I’m writing you to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the ‘Slate of Hate’ in our state legislature,” Swift wrote in the letter. “Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and those leaders are doing. I’m so grateful that they’re giving all people a place to worship. Sincerely, Taylor Swift.”
Toward the end of last year, Swift took to her Instagram to finally take a political stand in a public forum. She made a post in October, just in time for midterm elections, to announce support for Democratic candidate for Senate Phil Bredesen, against Republican candidate, Marsha Blackburn. Swift wrote that Blackburn’s voting record “appalls and terrifies me,” specifically calling Blackburn out on voting against the Equal Pay for Women Act and the Violence Against Women Act (which is in and of itself horrifying).
“These are not MY Tennessee values,” Swift wrote on Instagram.
This kind of behavior is not only encouraging, regardless of the dollar amount that followed it, but shows a massive amount of maturation on Swift’s part. Swift has made her career off of being an inoffensive country/pop star. She writes her own music, and has some catchy beats, but that’s basically it. While she has never previously said anything remotely against the LGBTQ community, she has also never said anything in support of the community before this. And after a while, it’s easy to wonder if the silence is a statement in and of itself.
I would rather have the snake outright tell me that it is going to bite me than have to sit here and wonder if there is a possibility it’ll do so.
Swift’s public declaration of support for the LGBTQ community is part of a general political awakening she seems to have undergone, especially since the election of Donald Trump. Just last month, Swift wrote an article for Elle Magazine entitled “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30.” One of the 30 things she listed was “finding my voice in terms of politics.”
“I took a lot of time educating myself on the political system and the branches of government that are signing off on bills that affect our day-to-day life,” Swift wrote in Elle. “Only as someone approaching 30 did I feel informed enough to speak about it to my 114 million followers. Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric.”
Regardless of the age at which she had it, it’s great to know that she’s had that revelation. Don’t get me wrong — by no means does being a musician mean that you also have to moonlight as a political activist. However, when you attract a relatively young fanbase, there is a certain level of responsibility and obligation that should be considered.
More and more LGBTQ youths are coming out at younger and younger ages, and while it is simply fantastic that they have that confidence, it means they will also need more support. Knowing that someone whose music gets you through rough and terrifying times not only supports you and will fight for you, but that they also value you and your identity, can be a huge help for exactly the sort of impressionable youth that buy tons of Taylor Swift albums.
For Swift to make this decision, to be more frank about her political stances, is very important. Her vocal (and financial) support will be a great help to many people in our community. Good on her for realizing how much this matters. Maybe she’ll help some of her peers figure it out.
Top photo via Taylor Swift/Facebook