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Taylor Swift playing guitar and singing on stage.

Does Taylor Swift Deserve Less Queer Credit for 'You Need To Calm Down?'

Gettyimages | Dave Hogan
By Trace Alan Salzbrenner

Let's get this out of the way right now, "You Need To Calm Down" is a bop. Being the first single that Taylor Swift has released as an activism song, it is good. It's fun, clever, and supports a great cause, but does it really deserve all of the LGBTQ+ credit that it is getting?

Well, I happen to think that it does not deserve all of that queer credit and I am not the only one to say so.

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Recently it was announced that Taylor Swift, along with Janet Mock, would be recognized at the 2020 GLAAD Awards. Why are people mad that Taylor is on that ticket? Well, she is a straight woman who made a song that didn't even feature a queer artist.

Yes, she was raising awareness for a bill that would help LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. However, she has only taken a stand on this issue in the past year. She hasn't been a lifelong advocate but instead, it has been very recent that she started her activism.


And now for the original issue, does "You Need To Calm Down" deserve all of that queer cred that it has been getting?

Absolutely not. Yes, the song talks about GLAAD and has the notable line, " Shade never made anybody less gay." However, the attributions on this song are abysmally non-queer.

Taylor Swift is the only writer attributed to the song and most of it was performed by Jack Antonoff, of Bleachers fame.

Both of these people are straight.

This causes a huge problem for the song because why platform queer problems without letting the voices of queer people be heard?

The music industry is notoriously lacking in major LGBTQ+ representation and Taylor Swift let probably the biggest opportunity for actual activism slip through. Instead, she elected to be the only voice heard and sucked up the limelight for herself.

This limits the impact of the song because now, it can be written off as just another angsty Swift single.

You could argue that the music video was chock full of queer representation and that makes up for it. But, it definitely doesn't.

The song is what is going to be passed around the most. The song is what is going to be played on the radio and it's what is going to be available on streaming services for the general masses to listen to.

The music video even had to share screen time with Taylor making up with Katy Perry.

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As a gay man myself, I want to see more gay men get the spotlight. In fact, I want to see more bi, ace, and trans identities recognized in music. Why did it have to be a straight white woman and only a straight white woman to give this message?

All in all, I am happy that Taylor is an ally. She deserves some recognition for her activism, but not this. IN the future I hope to see her collaborate with queer artists and actually help promote their voices in the industry.

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