Taylor Swift covers a lot of ground in Vogue’s sprawling September cover story, which published today. In addition to providing a sneak preview of her forthcoming album, “Lover,” and lots of self-analysis on fame, she spoke about the motivations behind her support of the LGBTQ community, sexism, President Trump and her reunion with Katy Perry.
Regarding her recent prominent support of the LGBTQ community — evidenced by her donation of $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project as well as her appearance at New York’s legendary Stonewall earlier this summer and her “You Need to Calm Down” video — she told Vogue, “Maybe a year or two ago, Todrick [Hall, her singer-actor friend, who appears in the “Calm Down” video] and I are in the car, and he asked me, What would you do if your son was gay? The fact that he had to ask me . . . shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough. If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question.
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“If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking,” she continued. “It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”
She also said she’s doubling down on her pro-LGBTQ stance now because “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male. I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze. Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”
The conversation soon segued to sexism. “I think about this a lot,” Swift said. “When I was a teenager, I would hear people talk about sexism in the music industry, and I’d be like, I don’t see it. I don’t understand. Then I realized that was because I was a kid. Men in the industry saw me as a kid. I was a lanky, scrawny, overexcited young girl who reminded them more of their little niece or their daughter than a successful woman in business or a colleague. The second I became a woman, in people’s perception, was when I started seeing it.
“It’s fine to infantilize a girl’s success and say, How cute that she’s having some hit songs,” she continued. “How cute that she’s writing songs. But the second it becomes formidable? As soon as I started playing stadiums—when I started to look like a woman—that wasn’t as cool anymore. It was when I started to have songs from Red come out and cross over, like ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ and ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.’ ”
And fittingly enough, the conversation moved quickly from sexism to the president. “Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” Swift said, without naming names. “He was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help.
“Also, you know, the summer before that election,” she continued, “all people were saying was She’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar. These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary. Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women. Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear. So I disappeared. In many senses.”
And on a lighter note, she got into detail about her reunion with Katy Perry (who also appears in the “Calm Down” video) after several years of serious shade. After Perry sent Swift an actual olive branch last year, Swift asked her to be in the video. “She wrote back, ‘This makes me so emotional. I’m so up for this. I want us to be that example. But let’s spend some time together. Because I want it to be real,’” Swift recalled. “So she came over and we talked for hours.
“We decided the metaphor for what happens in the media,” she continued. “They pick two people and it’s like they’re pouring gasoline all over the floor. All that needs to happen is one false move, one false word, one misunderstanding, and a match is lit and dropped. That’s what happened with us. It was: Who’s better? Katy or Taylor? Katy or Taylor? Katy or Taylor? Katy or Taylor? The tension is so high that it becomes impossible for you to not think that the other person has something against you.”