This Pride Month, Taylor Swift isn’t feeling 22 anymore; instead, she’s feeling the wrath of some of the LGBT community.
On June 14, Swift released a new single called “You Need to Calm Down.” The song is pro-LGBT and features the lyrics, “Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD,” in reference to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation group (GLAAD). It also features exaggerated redneck protestors holding up misspelled anti-LGBT signs, which acts as the audience Swift is singing to.
I’m sure the song was released with good intentions, but according to Vox it’s a wannabe queer anthem trying to sell you something. At the end of the video, Swift includes a link to her change.org petition. This petition calls for the support of the Equality Act.
The petition at the end isn’t what has most people angry. Many LGBT people are upset about the monetization of the video. Corporations have been becoming more involved in Pride Month over the previous years by showing their support with rainbow profile pictures on social media or new, rainbow merchandise to sell.
There has been debate in the community about whether or not corporations participating in Pride is a good thing. Some say that the visibility LGBT people gain from it is worth it, even if the corporations are only doing it to turn a profit.
It’s important for young LGBT people to know that they are seen and accepted, even if it’s not by their family or friends.
On the other hand, most LGBT people scorn corporations for using Pride as a way to make a profit, saying it cancels out the positive aspects of it.
Some organizations do donate the profits of their Pride merchandise to LGBT organizations. For instance, in 2018 Disney donated 10% of all Rainbow Mickey profits to GLSEN, which is “a United States-based education organization working to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in K-12 schools,” according to their website.
It doesn’t appear that Taylor Swift is donating any of her profits from this song to any charities, but some argue that the positives outweigh that.
The song is catchy, and the video features many LGBT icons, such as RuPaul, the Fab Five, Hannah Hart and Tyler Oakley.
According to Forbes, “Releasing this tune in the middle of Pride isn’t a subtle move, and while quite a few critics have correctly pointed out the many ways this can (nay, will) help Swift monetarily and in terms of her image, she has gone out of her way to not only paint everything in rainbows, but to do some actual good. That’s the sign of an ally who is, at the very least, trying.”
Twitter has been blowing up with people both in support of and against the new song. Many people have pointed out that, despite her profits from the song, Swift donated $113,000 to a Tennessee organization in April that was fighting for LGBT rights there.
“LGBTQ community complaining that Taylor Swift is ‘pandering’ for sales. Like, lol. Y’all. It’s not pandering when you’re heavy-handedly putting your money and your votes and your vocal support behind a community,” tweeted TV producer Rachel Kiley.
Dewane Perkins (a writer for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a popular show featuring LGBT characters) tweeted, “Is Taylor Swift gay yet? She has been dragging this out for so long. What is she, a fight scene in an episode of ‘Dragon Ball Z?’”
The current president of Giving Love Acceptance Safety and Support (GLASS) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Tyler Nguyen, has mixed feelings about the song.
“First off, the song is really cute and I appreciate Taylor’s support to the LGBTQ-plus community. However, it’d be naive to think this song is just support. Releasing this song during Pride is comparable to a corporation redesigning its logo to incorporate the colors of the rainbow. As these corporations do, Taylor is trying to capitalize off of queer people which may be my only issue with the song. However, I do admire her for including many queer artists in the music video. To add, the song’s lyricism is very basic for a Taylor Swift song. But all in all, I do appreciate Taylor’s efforts as she has been supportive of the community for a while.”
Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to support the song is up to the individual. I personally think it’s a bop, and I commend Swift for supporting LGBT rights in her own way. I believe including so many LGBT icons in the video was a good call, and I appreciate the good that the song has done.
Whether you like the song or not, you have to admit that Swift is turning into a good ally, and I personally can’t wait to see how she continues to grow in her role as such.