Opinion by Dean Obeidallah
Sun June 4, 2023
CNN: Taylor Swift is taking a strong stand in support of the LGBTQ community amid a raft of anti-gay bills being introduced in state legislatures and a push by some conservative pundits to brand anything LGBTQ-related dangerous.
The massively popular singer-songwriter marked Pride Month by telling the nearly 64,000 people who packed Chicago’s Soldier Field on Friday:
First things first, Happy Pride Month, everyone.”
The performer — who is in the midst of her sold-out “Eras Tour” — told the Swifties that her LGBTQ fans are “the most stunning, beautiful, brilliant crowds of people who are living their authentic lives.”
The 12-time Grammy Award winner added that the concert was a “safe space” for the LGBTQ community but then touched on the harsh reality of the current situation, saying, “We can’t talk about pride without talking about pain.” Swift then explained, “Right now and recently there have been so many harmful pieces of legislation that have put people in the LGBTQ+ and queer community at risk. It’s painful for everyone. Every ally. Every loved one. Every person in these communities.”
Swift is 100% correct. A record number of anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced and enacted in some GOP-controlled states this year. The legislation ranges from laws prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender teens to the banning of books with LGBTQ themes to measures — as the American Civil Liberties Union has documented — designed “to undermine and weaken nondiscrimination laws by allowing employers, businesses, and even hospitals to turn away LGBTQ people or refuse them equal treatment.”
Will the voices on the right now call for a boycott of Swift, like they did with Target and others? Good luck with that, given the singer’s massive support in both blue and red states. This weekend, her three sold-out shows in Chicago were to see more than 190,000 people attend. Just last month, Swift set a new record in Nashville with three sold-out shows at Nissan Stadium — with about 71,000 attending each concert for a total of roughly 212,000 people. (For context, former President Donald Trump’s much-hyped first 2024 campaign rally held in Texas saw an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 per the local fire marshal’s office — although no official count was recorded.)
In her 2014 hit song “Shake It Off,” the megastar sang about how, “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” and in response, “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off.” This time Swift wants her fans to do more than just “shake it off.” She wants them to vote, vote, vote out the haters. And given their sheer numbers, the Swifties have the power to do just that.