It was only a few years ago that fans of Taylor Swift were wishing the music superstar would use her platform to get political and help influence her millions of young fans. The 2016 election came and went without Swift doing much more than posting a selfie outside a polling station. Thankfully, that has now changed, with the 29-year-old artist finally using her voice to help raise awareness for important causes. Her latest effort comes in the form of a handwritten letter and a big cheque to help fight Tennessee’s anti-LGBTQ bills.
On Monday, Swift donated $113,000 to the LGBTQ advocacy group the Tennessee Equality Project, a sum that is likely a nod to her favourite number ’13.’ The group is fighting five bills that are currently in the process of being approved by the state. These bills include the right for adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, and the right for the state to define marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. On Monday, Tennessee also passed a ‘bathroom bill’ in the House of the Representatives, listing public bathrooms as a location where people can be charged with indecent exposure, a law that is aimed to discriminate against transgender people.
Swift sent the cheque to the Tennessee Equality Project leader Chris Sanders, as well as a handwritten note, which Sanders shared on Facebook. Delivered on Swift’s personal letterhead, which bares the descriptions ‘Born in 1989, Loves Cats,’ Taylor wrote “I’m writing you to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the “slate of hate” in our state legislature. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and these leaders are doing. I’m so grateful that they’re giving all people a place to worship.”
The donation will go a long way in helping the organization, with Out And About Nashville revealing that $113,000 is almost the entire annual operating budget for the Tennessee Equality Project.
The “Reputation” singer has always been generous with fans when it comes to donating money for medical bills, school tuition and helping communities with disaster relief, but in the past three years, Swift’s philanthropy has begun to look decidedly Democratic, with Swift focusing on organizations and causes that help women and minorities. In 2016, she donated $250,000 to fellow singer and alleged sexual assault survivor Kesha. In 2017 after winning her court case against a radio DJ that groped her, she made a large donation to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization run by actor Mariska Hargitay that supports sexual assault survivors. In 2018, Swift donated to RAINN during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Swift finally went political in 2018 when she endorsed nominee Phil Bredsen for the Tennessee Senate, revealing in an Instagram post that she was a Democrat, writing, “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
Country Taylor and Pop Taylor are great, but our favourite is Woke Taylor.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈