Taylor Swift supports the Equality Act, that’s not political.
Ten years after Taylor Swift got the microphone taken away from her at the 2009 VMAs by Kanye West, Swift took that microphone back to advocate for the Equality Act. The Equality Act is a bill passed by the Democratic majority United States House of Representatives in May. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination “on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition of an individual as well as because of sex-based stereotypes.” The bill is one of the many that are being ignored by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell.
It’s important to point out that nearly 27 states already have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In October the U.S. Supreme Court will hear from the U.S. Justice Department which plans to argue that federal civil rights laws do not protect workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. They insist that someone can be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identification. This boils down to human rights issue. Should the LGBTQ community be protected under the law like everyone else?
During last night’s VMA acceptance speech for video of the year, Swift said on the Equality Act, “It now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.” Swift went on to say, “In this video, several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world, where we’re all treated equally under the law.” Swift was letting her fans know that what she is standing up for.
What followed was the predictable slew of adverse reactions to Ms. Swift getting “political.” It’s like “shut up and dribble” all over again. For most of Swift’s career, she remained on the sidelines of anything seen as political. It makes sense, a big part of her audience comes from the South, a place traditionally seen as more conservative. Her fans are also predominantly white. But then again she does have a lot of fans within the LGBTQ community. During the 2016 presidential election, Swift was absent while most pop stars were vocal. Many found this to be stunning. Swift called herself tolerant and a supporter of the LGBTQ community, however, she did not speak out on their behalf during the 2016 cycle.
Recently, Swift addressed her absence in the 2016 election to Vogue, “Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,(Then-candidate Donald Trump) was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help.”
Following last night’s VMA’s, publications like CNN framed Swift’s comments as “going political.” However, we must point out that supporting human rights, isn’t and shouldn’t be political. By framing Taylor Swifts’ speech as political, we are brushing her aside and saying her voice isn’t necessary. We are framing her as “liberal” or “progressive” without actually talking about what she is advocating for. She wants all people to be treated the same under our law. That’s not political, and shame on all of you for saying it is.