If Taylor Swift Really Cares About Her Fans, She Would 'Speak Now' About The Issues That Impact Them

Her silence is deafening, and it's starting to feel calculated.

Taylor Swift and Lizzo Ronald Woan from Redmond, WA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons, Ben Houdijk / Shutterstock

Taylor Swift is one of the biggest megastars in the world, and queer people make up some of her most loyal devotees. Nevertheless, when it comes to the sweeping wave of legislative attacks on queer and especially transgender people, her silence has been deafening. 

It is long past time for Taylor Swift to start speaking out for her queer fans.

Swift has made a career out of not just appealing to a queer fanbase, but by incorporating queer culture, imagery and references into her work—so much so that rumors of Swift being part of the LGBTQ community herself have swirled for years. Some see that as a classic case of cultural appropriation, while others see it as a genuine embrace of a community that makes up so many of her fans. But given her recent actions, it's becoming harder to argue the latter.


RELATED: If A Man Says He Hates Taylor Swift, That's Likely How He Feels About Women In General



Swift stayed silent on Tennessee's anti-LGBTQ legislation during her recent roster of Nashville concerts.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Her stop in Nashville, where she spent part of her childhood, on her barn-storming Eras Tour happened to coincide with Tennessee's passing of two of the most sweeping and bigoted anti-LGBTQ laws yet.


One criminalizes drag performances, an attempt to attack the non-existent problem of drag queens "grooming" children, a phenomenon for which there is no evidence. Even worse is the state's full-scale ban on gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18. Such medical treatments, nearly all of which are reversible, are vital for saving transgender children from the staggering rates of suicide in transgender youth according to scientists and medical professionals.

These laws, of course, are all part of a sweeping nationwide effort by right-wing and evangelical Christian interests to legislatively and socially attack LGBTQ people and allies to an extent that they will no longer be able to safely live their lives openly. It is working handily.

If Taylor Swift actually cares about any of this though, she certainly made no effort to show it. Despite her "promise to always advocate" for LGBTQ people back in 2019, she made no mention of the laws at any of her shows in her home state of Tennessee, nor at her shows in Florida and Texas, all of which played to audiences that included hordes of LGBTQ people of all ages currently under legislative attack.


RELATED: Teacher 'Under Investigation' For Showing Her Students A Disney Movie Shares Her Side Of The Story

Photo: TikTok

Meanwhile, Lizzo stopped her concert in Nebraska to speak out against similar legislation there.

Performing at Omaha's Chi Health Center just hours after the state's Senate voted to further restrict access to both abortion and gender-affirming care for transgender people under the age of 19, a visibly emotional Lizzo drew a line in the sand.


"[A]nybody who comes to a Lizzo show should know that I am for people to have the right to healthcare, reproductive and gender-affirming," she told her audience.



Lizzo spoke to them directly. "Let me be your safe space tonight… You are who you are, OK? I see you. You are valid... These laws are not real — you are what’s real, and you deserve to be protected."

It's frankly shocking that Swift seems not to understand this, since one of her very own inspirations, Madonna, practically invented the concept. 


Today's anti-LGBTQ attacks echo those of the 1980s AIDS crisis, when Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor were nearly the only public figures who would speak out in support of LGBTQ people. 

Most people who were not adults at the time seem to have little knowledge of what happened during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. I was only a child then, but I remember it vividly—because it was terrifying.

The ravages of the disease were bandied about in the news and queer people were made out to be monsters inflicting their sinful scourge on good, godly, unsuspecting people who didn't deserve it. Sound familiar? 

Meanwhile, those supposedly evil gay people along with many other communities were dying en masse, and the government was completely silent—except to openly joke about AIDS in White House press conferences that is.

Amidst this terror and a total leadership vacuum, virtually nobody outside the vilified, silenced queer community itself would talk openly about AIDS or the people dying of it with the exception of pop star Madonna and Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, both of whose circle of friends were being decimated by the disease.


Taylor led fundraising efforts for vanguard charities like AIDS Project Los Angeles and The American Foundation for AIDS Research, or amFAR. She famously spoke of the infuriating "silence" and inaction on AIDS that pushed her to say to herself, "B-tch, do something yourself!"

Photo: TikTok

At the same time, Madonna began publicly speaking out as well, dedicating proceeds from concerts to AIDS charities and speaking from the stage about the need for not only research and funding, but care and compassion for victims of the disease and the queer community at large, crusades she has continued to this day.


Just as important, to be a queer person at the time was to know unequivocally that even if the rest of the country seemed gleeful about your death, there were at least two people who saw you, respected you, and believed in you. There is a reason so many queer people of a certain age called Elizabeth Taylor a gay icon and say Madonna saved their lives.

There are scores of queer people, many of them still children, who are looking for that same vote of confidence right now. It seems Taylor Swift simply can't be bothered.

RELATED: Teen Girl Forgets She Hasn't Come Out Yet & Tells Her Aunt About Her Girlfriend


Swift's silence is part of a track record of evading political topics unless it is expedient to her career.

Swift has frequently been criticized for staying silent on politics for years—even after she became a pin-up dream girl for white nationalists. Only in 2018 did Swift finally begin to address political topics. Since then, Swift has deepened her political outspokenness and her support for LGBTQ people, releasing her explicitly pro-LGBTQ single and video "You Need To Calm Down" and making several large donations to LGBTQ organizations, including in Tennessee in 2019.

Photo: TikTok


So why has she been utterly silent about the current fascist tide in her own home state? In 2012, Swift told Time Magazine, "I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people," explaining that she felt insufficiently informed on political matters. Has Swift returned to this banal cop-out when it comes to the attacks on queer and trans people in Tennessee?

UK newspaper The Times recently called Swift "the pop star that bridges America's political divide." More than anyone, she has the power to influence the rank-and-file who've become, even if unwittingly by their complacency, foot soldiers in the right wing's all-out attack on trans people. She has a captive audience. Every night. Tens of thousands of them.

Instead, she's chosen neither to challenge them nor to vocally support the hordes of queer people on whose backs she's built a career—people who are hurting and terrified right now.

Oh well, at least they have Lizzo, along with stars like Lil Nas X, Beyoncé, and others. Starting in July when her Celebration Tour launches, they'll have Madonna again too, including a slate of shows in Nashville she added specifically to speak out about Tennessee's attacks on queer people. Here's hoping Taylor's in the audience, taking notes.


RELATED: Why It's Terrifying To Be Queer And Trans Right Now

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.