Taylor Swift literally did not let a minute of Pride Month go by without taking a strong stand on LGBTQ rights. The pop superstar took to Instagram as the calendar turned over into June on the east coast to post an open letter to her Tennessee senator urging passage in the U.S. Senate of the Equality Act, a bill that has already passed the House of Representatives.
In a signal that she believes the buck stops in the Oval Office, she used her letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander to take issue with the White House’s position against the legislation, which has been opposed by most Republican lawmakers.
“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,” Swift wrote. “One cannot take the position that one supports a community while condemning it in the next breath as going against ‘conscience’ or ‘parental rights.’ That statement implies that there is something 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, non binary or transgender parents, sons or daughters.”
Swift’s open letter to the senator was accompanied on Instagram by a message to her fans, which began: “HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!!! While we have so much to celebrate, we also have a great distance to go before everyone in this country is truly treated equally. In excellent recent news, the House has passed the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations. The next step is that the bill will go before the Senate. 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. I urge you to write to your senators too. I’ll be looking for your letters by searching the hashtag #lettertomysenator.”
GLAAD responded with a statement from president/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis: “In today’s divisive political and cultural climate, we need more allies like Taylor, who send positive and uplifting messages to LGBTQ people everywhere.” A message from the org on Twitter also thanked Swift for a “generous donation to support our work to accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people.”
Swift revealed that she has “created a petition at change.org to urge the Senate to support the Equality Act. 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. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable. Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.” She closed her message with a succession of rainbow symbols — an unsurprising 13, to be exact.
The singer’s letter to Alexander took on a polite tone, congratulating him for honoring the centennial of the 19th amendment, which allowed women the vote. “This was a positive step 100 years ago and I hope we can all continue to put aside partisan affiliations when it comes to matters of basic human rights.”
But she then took on what she considers a woeful record of LGBTQ protection in her home state. “I’m sure you saw where Amazon and almost a dozen other companies said they feel the proposed anti-LGBTQ ‘Slate of Hate’ in Tennessee would negatively affect their ability to do business in Tennessee.” She cited a study showing that 64% of the state’s residents support legislation barring anti-LGBTQ discrimination. “To vote against this bill would be to vote against the wishes of most Tennesseans and Americans. I respect your position in our country and your ability to really impact positive moves forward. … I, for one, would be immensely grateful.”
Last October, Swift — who had been previously been criticized in some circles for remaining publicly apolitical during the last presidential election cycle — surprised many by issuing an endorsement of Tennessee governor candidate Phil Bredesen, who ultimately lost, citing the controversy over the state’s LGBTQ legislation as one reason for speaking up then.