“Swift is helping to bring narratives of uncensored and unapologetic queerness into the international spotlight”

BY RACHEL BADHAM. IMAGE YOUTUBE

After dropping her ultra queer music video for new single, You Need To Calm Down, pop icon Taylor Swift has received mixed responses…

Some have praised her for showing support for the LGBTQI community during Pride month, however – she’s also received a great volume of backlash, with fans accusing her of exploiting queer culture and using the queer community for personal gain and profit.

Swift identifies as heterosexual and is a self-proclaimed ally. The video to You Need To Calm Down features dozens of Swift’s queer, celebrity friends, from Ellen DeGeneres to Hayley Kiyoko to a smorgasbord of Drag Race stars.

A number of people have claimed that the song, which states, “Shade never made anyone less gay,” and the rainbow-drenched video are just tactical, commercial moves to generate profit, and that Swift is just hopping on board the “queer bandwagon” to gain attention. 

However, in a month where solidarity is more important than ever, it’s essential that we join hands with our allies to continue fighting for equality, don’t you think? 

Arguably, Swift is profiting from You Need To Calm Down, but all musical artists profit off of their work – that’s the name of the game.

Taylor is one of the most influential and powerful artists in the industry right now, and You Need To Calm Down is a clear example of Swift using her platform to spread messages of positivity and equality.

LGBTQI organisation GLAAD have also benefited directly from the song, receiving an influx of donations, and Taylor herself donated a generous amount to the LGBTQI organisation. 

Many have also found it problematic that a heterosexual woman is leading discussions about LGBTQI equality, a valid concern, perhaps? Though, I believe queer people’s voices should be given priority in discussions surrounding equality and the experiences of the LGBTQI community, allies such as Taylor can help bridge the gap between the community and those who need to listen in order to become educated about LGBTQI issues.

Plus, the video was co-produced by queer-identified star, Todrick Hall, so there was also direct, creative input from the community – it was not made through a purely “heterosexual lens.”

The inclusion of so many queer celebrities in the video is also incredibly important. Swift encourages fans to support these stars directly, and once again, this is an example of her using her huge platform for good

In my own experience, I have found that not all, but many heterosexual individuals can only support queer people if they don’t acknowledge their queerness and operate on the basis that we’re all the same which, in my opinion is not true equality – just another, more subtle, form of erasure.

So, I have an enormous amount of respect for Taylor for making a song that is so clearly an LGBTQI anthem. For me, she is helping to bring narratives of uncensored and unapologetic queerness into the international spotlight. 

Unity with our LGBTQI allies, particularly outspoken, high-profile allies, is essential. In the context of a system based around profit and, with the knowledge that Taylor has a huge amount of influence, I believe she has done the best she possibly could to be a good ally and to spread messages of equality.

Personally, I think it’s wonderful to witness the unity between people of all sexualities and genders that is seen in the rainbowlicious, You Need To Calm Down. 

Watch the video here 🌈

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