Taylor Swift was once apolitical — famously so. That changed in October 2018 when she made a bold and rare move to support Democratic nominees in the midterm elections. At the stroke of midnight on June 1, 2019, which kicked off LGBTQ Pride Month, Swift released an open letter to one of her senators, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, in support of the Equality Act and in rejection of President Donald Trump’s stance on the matter.
“I personally reject the President’s stance that his administration, ‘supports equal treatment of all,’ but that the Equality Act, ‘in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.’ No. One cannot take the position that one supports a community, while condemning it in the next breath as going against ‘conscience’ or ‘parental rights,'” the 29-year-old “ME!” singer wrote in the letter, which she published to her social media channels. “That statement implies that there is something morally wrong with being anything other than heterosexual and cisgender, which is an incredibly harmful message to send to a nation full of healthy and loving families with same-sex, nonbinary or transgender parents, sons or daughters.”
The Equality Act, which the House passed on Friday, May 17, amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in both the public and private sectors. The bill will now go before the Senate and the White House, though Republican senators and Trump have taken a stance against it, as documented by The New York Times.
According to NBC News, a senior official for the Trump administration said in a statement, “The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all. However, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.” Meanwhile, the administration continues to support means to enhance religious freedoms, which have often served as a defense to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
“While we have so much to celebrate, we also have a great distance to go before everyone in this country is truly treated equally,” Swift wrote in an introduction addressed to fans that proceeded the letter.
“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,” she added. “I urge you to write to your senators, too. I’ll be looking for your letters by searching the hashtag #lettertomysenator.”
Swift also created a Change.org petition to “urge the Senate to support the Equality Act,” and GLAAD confirmed separately that she made a “very generous donation in honor of LGBTQ Pride month” to the LGBTQ organization. GLAAD said the money “will be used for GLAAD’s ongoing work to amplify stories as well as create campaigns that fight back against the current rise of hate and discrimination and also accelerate acceptance of LGBTQ people.”
“Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic,” Swift continued in her note to fans. “The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable.”
On Friday, Trump’s Twitter account shared the following statement: “As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”
The statement came with backlash, laughs, and eye rolls from many of those outside his support base, including GLAAD, which chronicled, in detail, Trump and his administration’s history of anti-LGBTQ acts.
“This is gaslighting,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Actions speak louder than words and President Trump and his Administration have attacked the LGBTQ community in policy and rhetoric more than 110 times since taking office. When discussing this tweet, we need to remember the full story around his anti-LGBTQ record.”
When Swift came out in support of Democrats in 2018, more than 105,000 new people reportedly registered to vote through Vote.org within 48 hours of her statement. Let’s see what this new stance will do.
- Taylor Swift shows off her new album aesthetic — and her favorite Easter eggs — in EW’s exclusive cover shoot
- Taylor Swift dispels Avengers: Endgame Easter egg theory
- Taylor Swift on her current pop culture obsessions: Drake, Killing Eve, Britney Spears’ laughter, and more
- Taylor Swift Easter egg cheat sheet: All the buttons in EW’s cover shoot, explained