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This Is Why Taylor Swift’s Impassioned Pride Month Speech Has Been Branded “Disingenuous” And “Defensive” By Fans

“She must have a private account that she does all her advocacy on cuz I haven’t seen it 🥺”

Taylor Swift first burst onto the scene in 2006, and has famously spent the vast majority of her 17-year career pointedly avoiding anything even vaguely political.

In 2012, she explicitly told Time magazine: “I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people,” and she proved her point by remaining silent throughout the controversial 2016 presidential election, which saw Donald Trump become president of the United States.

This silence earned her the position of being a poster girl for the alt-right, with neo-Nazis affectionately calling her an “Aryan goddess.” Detailing exactly how this reputation had emerged, right-wing political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos credited Taylor’s obvious lack of public political stance.

Explaining why she is the perfect representative of white supremacy, he said that Taylor is white, American, and “isn’t very forthcoming about her political or religious views, so fans are kept guessing as to where she really stands.”

True to form, Taylor even remained silent as this damaging ideology around her spread, which only added fuel to the fire.

Three years later, in 2019, Taylor finally addressed this discourse for the first time as she told Rolling Stone that she didn’t issue a statement denouncing the alt-right and neo-Nazis when the conversation was at its peak because she somehow wasn’t aware of it.

The singer insisted that she “didn’t hear about that until after it had happened” because she didn’t have the internet on her phone at this point in her life. It was only then that she branded white supremacy as “disgusting” and “repulsive.”

By this point, Taylor had finally dipped her toe into speaking out on social issues after breaking her political silence during the 2018 midterms.

Over a decade into her glittering career, Taylor used her huge platform to endorse two democratic candidates and urge her fanbase to vote in the upcoming elections.

Taylor’s decision to “come out” as a democrat was documented in her 2020 Netflix documentary Miss Americana, with the star being filmed sobbing as she tried to convince her reluctant father and team to let her discuss politics.

It was a convincing plea, with Taylor saying that the voting record for the republican candidate, Marsha Blackburn, “appalls and terrifies” her — not least because she didn’t prioritize women’s safety, which concerned Taylor due to her scary personal experiences with stalkers.

“She thinks that if you’re a gay couple, or even if you look like a gay couple, you should be allowed to be kicked out of a restaurant. It’s really basic human rights, and it’s right and wrong at this point,” Taylor said.

Just months after Taylor’s 2018 statement, her newfound activism became a key part of the promo cycle for her seventh album, Lover.

One single from that album, “You Need To Calm Down,” was intended to be her rebuttal of the anti-gay rhetoric that was dominating American politics at the time.

In the song, Taylor says to the bigots “like, can you just not?,” with other lyrics including “shade never made anybody less gay,” and “why are you mad? When you could be GLADD?” in a reference to a non-profit that supports the LGBTQ+ community.

The accompanying music video included a host of famous LGBTQ+ faces, such as Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, and Billy Porter. And when it won the Video of the Year award at the 2019 VMAs, Taylor urged viewers to sign a petition that supported the Equality Act during her acceptance speech.

While Taylor’s actions were ultimately lending themselves to good, many were cynical and accused her of performative activism as they noted that she had conveniently started to use her voice in time for her new album.

And while Taylor has certainly continued to be more vocal about politics than she used to be — she endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election and posted a black square to Instagram in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in June of that same year — she is yet to reach the same peaks that she did during her Lover promo cycle.

Earlier this year, Taylor was called out by disappointed fans when she failed to denounce the record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced across the US when her Eras tour reached affected states, including Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.

Twitter: @reginalinettis

Simultaneously, the star has been facing increasing backlash for her rumored new relationship with British singer Matty Healy, who has a long history of incredibly problematic behavior. This includes being filmed seemingly doing the Nazi salute in January of this year, and making racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, and anti-Muslim comments.

Instead of acknowledging the growing concern from fans over her public affiliation with Matty, she allowed him to join her opening act Phoebe Bridgers on stage at her tour.

But just as the discourse surrounding Matty and Taylor’s lack of comment on the anti-LGBTQ+ bills started to reach fever pitch, she delivered an impassioned speech in honor of Pride Month at her show on Friday.

Speaking out during her Chicago concert, Taylor wished the crowd a “happy Pride Month” before telling them “this is a safe space for you. This is a celebratory space for you."

Twitter: @theswiftmuseum

"And one of the things that makes me feel so prideful is getting to be with you — watching you interact with each other and being so loving and so thoughtful and so caring,” she went on. “Being with you during Pride Month, getting to sing the words to 'You Need To Calm Down,' where there are lyrics like, ‘Can you just not step on his gown?’ or ‘Shade never made anybody less gay.’ You guys are screaming those lyrics in such solidarity, and such support of one another.”

Taylor then acknowledged that “we can’t talk about Pride Month without talking about pain” as she referenced the “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,” Taylor added. “And that’s why I’m always posting, ‘This is when the midterms are. This is when these important key primaries are.’”

However, Taylor’s speech fell flat for many — with the star being branded “disingenuous” in light of her actual track record of speaking out, especially as she is still yet to acknowledge her apparent new boyfriend’s troubling reputation. Taylor was also accused of centering herself during a speech for marginalized people.

TikTok user @princessjellly drew on Mikki Kendall’s book Hood Feminism as she summarized why Taylor’s words weren’t enough. She argued that the speech felt more like Taylor’s attempt to redeem herself amid the overwhelming backlash that she is currently facing than something that she genuinely puts the work in for.

Quoting the book directly, the TikToker said: “This is the type of response that you get from a white ally who hasn’t really done the work of how to respond when somebody calls you out for doing something harmful.”


#stitch with @KYLE MARISA ROTH something is better than nothing but this is still a bad look. Mikki Kendall predicts this response will come from wht allies who have not done the work on taking accountability. Saying “I care and that’s why I always post…” is likely meant to distract from the fact that she actually has not spoken about queer issues for over three years 🫠🥴 I appreciate her making it clear where she stands but she needs to drop the activism act or be an activist #pride #ally #swiftsilence

♬ original sound - Princessjelly

“It is never the privileged outsider who gets to decide when they’re a good ally. Especially not if they want to use their status as an ally to excuse whatever they have done that has offended someone in a group they claim to be supporting,” the book continues.

The TikToker then summarized: “So often when they are challenged they insist there’s no way they’re part of the problem, they instead rattle off a laundry list of things that they have done for that community.”

“Identifying yourself as an ally is a convenient way to give yourself a pass for dismissing the words or experiences of people,” the book’s section concludes.

“What is frustrating people is her trying to shine a light on her activism and it’d maybe be better if you don’t say anything at all instead of saying something kind of disingenuous,” the TikToker added.

Many viewers agreed in the video’s comment section, with one person pointing out: “Taylor used the word Ally alot last night & even said how hard it is for ally’s instead of centring how hard it is for the marginalized group.”

Another echoed: “If one's allyship has to have energy spent to ‘get credit’ they feel is due to them, that is centering and a waste of time and energy. Just keep doing the actual work and that will speak for itself 💗”

Someone else duetted the TikTok and added in their caption: “She is so incredibly defensive & that is why she is not an ally.”

Commenting on that video, one user wrote: “speech wouldve been great if it didnt center herself - citing her own lyrics and ‘activism.’” Another wrote: “The speech was honestly worse than not saying anything at all. It was really defensive and performative laced with I love yous.”

Others called out the accuracy of what Taylor had claimed, with one saying: “‘I’m always posting..’ caught me off track immediately that was when I really started to question its genuity.”

“Yeah the bit where she said ‘I’m always posting…’ was so disingenuous, like there has been deafening silence recently,” another user agreed.

Someone else joked: “She must have a private account that she does all her advocacy on cuz I haven’t seen it 🥺”

Taylor’s relationship with Matty was also called out, as a TikToker commented: “To me it’s also her saying ‘this is a safe space’ when she invited MH on stage at her shows before. It is clearly not.”

Someone else agreed: “when she said ‘this is a safe space’ I was like ‘yeah except when you bring your boyfriend around’ 🙄”

While a third pointed out that Matty himself had called out Taylor’s performative activism in the past. They wrote: “even matty healy said that her activism is very convenient and safe for her.”

During a 2020 appearance on The Green Room podcast, Matty used Taylor as an example of a celebrity who doesn’t do the work when it comes to social issues.

He argued that Taylor only speaks out on issues once they are already largely supported, minimizing any risk to her popularity. He said of her and celebs like her: “They’ll wait until something's been workshopped-woke enough to feel like you're making a statement when you’re not.”

Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out all of BuzzFeed's posts celebrating Pride 2023.