This week, Taylor Swift made a major statement and donation for equality for all in her home state of Tennessee. Variety reported that Taylor donated $113,000 (see those 13s?) to the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), an organization that “advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ people in Tennessee” through legislation, according to the TEP website.
The group revealed the news in a Facebook post, stating that Taylor “has been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community. She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear.”
The organization included a photo of Taylor’s handwritten note to their executive director, Chris Sanders, which reads, “I’m writing to 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 legislation. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and those leaders are doing. I’m so grateful that they’re giving all people a place to worship.”
The “slate of hate” she’s referring to includes recent proposed legislation that could potentially allow entities, including employers and adoption agencies, to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Tennessee does not yet have statewide nondiscrimination laws that protect all residents from being discriminated against in employment because of sexual orientation and gender, which, according to an HRC map, isn’t just a Tennessee problem.
Another bill passed by the Tennessee House on April 8 clarifies the state’s indecent exposure laws to include public restrooms and has been criticized by LGBTQ advocates as a discriminatory bathroom bill — it has been amended from its original version and language that specifically targeted transgender people has been removed. However, TEP’s Chris Sanders told The Tennessean that, despite the correction, “concerns remain about the impact on the transgender community if it becomes law, given the long history of harassment of transgender people in restrooms.”
This isn’t the first time Taylor has spoken up about political matters in Tennessee. In October, she broke her political silence on Instagram and encouraged her followers to vote in the midterm elections, endorsing Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives.
She made a statement about LGBTQ rights then too, saying, “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.” Taylor also spoke out against racism in her post, saying, “I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country toward 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.”