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Please Stop Speculating About Taylor Swift’s Sexuality

By Megan Graham

IMAGE CREDIT: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for iHeartMedia file

To use an overused opener: it’s me, hi. I’m a gay Swiftie, it’s me. As a queer woman, I love nothing more than when my favorite actors, musicians, or pop culture icons are sapphic, like me. I love the feeling of seeing an actor or singer who I was already a fan of come out. I firmly believe that the LGBTQ+ community only gets stronger when more people are proud and open about who they are.

But as a queer woman, I also know how personal and private my own experience of sexuality was (and to some degree, still is). How even though I was out to my friends, it took me years to tell my mom I was queer, and years after that to come out publicly on the internet. As I was in the process of coming out, especially in the early period, it would have terrified me to have even one person speculate about my sexuality, let alone millions of people online. Even now, when I am more open about myself than I ever have been, I still don’t like the idea of people guessing things about me that I have not shared. It doesn’t matter whether they’re right or wrong with their guesses, it only matters that they are trying to access information I have not shared.

Taylor Swift, as a public figure, naturally opens herself up to more public scrutiny and speculation. And the abundance of easter eggs she leaves for her fans certainly invites us to make guesses about her next album (I want to say Speak Now Taylor’s Version), her tour dates (which she just announced), or who stole her red scarf (I’m looking at you, Jake Gyllenhaal). This last point, in particular, is tricky. If Swift can write songs that not-so-subtly allude to her exes over the years, then why shouldn’t fans wonder if some of her songs are about women? I’ve seen TikToks, Tweets, and full PowerPoint presentations mining Swift’s discography and music videos for evidence of her queer sexuality. Couldn’t she just be dropping more easter eggs for fans in the know?

Taylor Swift, though, has made it clear that there are some parts of her life she would rather keep private. She has famously not posted pictures with her longtime boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, on social media, and even the documentary about her does not show his face. In her newest album, “Midnights,” Swift has actually taken aim at some of the speculation about whether she and Joe are going to get married. In “Lavender Haze,” she sings, “all they keep asking me / is if I’m gonna be your bride / the only kind of girl they see / is a one-night or a wife.” Swift has even taken pains to share the origin of the title, “Lavender.” Rather than appropriating a queer symbol, according to Swift, the title comes from a 50s phrase about being in love that she saw on Mad Men. Swift has also explicitly said that she is not a part of the community even as she advocates for LGBTQ rights, and stated in an interview with Vogue that, “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.” Taylor Swift clearly wants to hide some parts of her life from the public, and has been explicit about how she is not a part of the community. It’s time for us to believe her.

If, in fact, Taylor Swift is gay, bisexual, or otherwise a part of the LGBTQ+ community, we as fans should give her the space to come out (or not) on her own time. Just as none of us owe anyone an explanation for our sexualities, she doesn’t either. This issue has received increased attention in recent days when Kit Connor, one of the stars of Netflix’s gay teen show, Heartstopper, tweeted that he was bi, and added, “congrats on forcing an 18 year old to come out,” responding to critics demanding that he disclose his sexuality. This is particularly heartbreaking to watch as someone who was not ready to fully come out at 18, but the age doesn’t matter — no one should be forced to come out, whether it is to your parents or to the world.

And if Taylor Swift, as she has stated before, is not queer, then we in the queer community are missing opportunities to demand better allyship and support artists that are open about their queerness. Swift has devoted her resources to supporting the Equality Act and spoken out in favor of gay rights, but she, like the rest of us, can be better about speaking out against the wave of anti-trans legislation we are seeing across the country. We should ask her to do more. There are also so many queer women artists who are open about their sexuality. If we treat Taylor Swift like the epitome of queer representation, then we miss our opportunities to support them.

I love looking for clues in Taylor Swift lyrics as much as any other Swiftie, but let’s respect her privacy as much as we would want someone to respect ours.

About the Author

Megan grew up in the suburbs of Massachusetts, where she came out as queer before arriving at college. She is currently in her last year of her degree program, where she studies history and literature. She loves running, reading, and The L Word.

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