The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

Opinion: Swift. Sexuality. And the New York Times.
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Why are “fans” of Taylor Swift speculating on her sexuality and convinced Swift is secretly gay?  Why are they ignoring the fact that Swift has repeatedly stated she’s not a part of the LGBTQ+ community? Is it even appropriate to comment on other’s sexuality even if they’re famous? Spoiler alert, it’s not.  

Taylor Swift, the woman who built her career off of love songs and break up songs about her ex boyfriends, has a cult of “fans” convinced she’s secretly a lesbian. Despite the lack of proof behind this theory, in recent years it has become extremely popular due to Swift’s serge of exposure due to Swift’s Eras Tour and explosive popularity in 2023. These theorists call themselves “gaylors” and recently have been becoming more and more vocal. 

Speculation surrounding Swift’s sexuality isn’t a new discussion in the fandom. These theories have been around since Swift’s Fearless era in 2008 when she had a falling out with a friend named Emily Poe. Poe was Swift’s fiddle player on tour, and it’s unknown as to why she stopped touring with Swift.

On Swift’s sophomore album Fearless, the song “Breathe” is about having a falling out with a friend, rumored to be Poe, but gaylors would interpret the song differently. From very early on in Swift’s career, these “fans” would interpret Swift’s songs to fit their narrative. This wouldn’t become an issue until recently because early on the gaylors were a small, quiet minority.

Since Swift’s relationships are so heavily scrutinized by the public and media outlets, many themes in her music relate to feeling hunted, needing to hide her partner from criticism, or being unaccepted because of her dating history. These themes relate heavily to the LGBTQ+ community who identify with Swift’s experience of feeling the need to hide their romantic relationships. There is nothing wrong with identifying with an artist’s music, but trying to convince others of a person’s sexuality crosses a line.  

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On Jan. 4, The New York Times published a piece by Anna Marks that claims Swift is a closeted lesbian. The reasons as to why Swift is a lesbian lack merit. For example, some of those reasons include: the aesthetic of the Lover era reminds the author of the bisexual flag, Swift performed at Stonewall Inn, and because the author personally believes some of Swift’s songs would make more sense if they were written about a woman. A respectable and well established outlet such as the New York Times publishing this piece gives these nonsensical theories credibility in the minds of the public. Journalism should be about uncovering the truth and providing news to the public, not making assumptions about a person’s sexuality for internet clicks. It’s truly shameful The New York Times published this piece. Swift has stated multiple times she is only an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and not a part of it. Swift has hinted multiple times she is uncomfortable with these theories but recently made a statement on The New York Times piece. 

Swift’s team made a statement on Jan. 6, that claims the piece is, “invasive, untrue, and inappropriate.” This proves the speculation makes Swift uncomfortable, but that won’t stop gaylor conspiracy theorists. Before this statement was released, there were several instances where Swift subtlety acknowledged how wrong this theory is.

In Swift’s career, she has only ever referred to herself as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. For Swift’s seventh studio album Lover, the second single, “You Need To Calm Down”, focuses on bigotry, specifically homophobia.

Swift had what she described as a political awakening after her sexual assault trial. This trial happened in 2017 when DJ David Mueller sued Swift for defamation after he lost his job after groping Swift at an event.

Swift countersued Mueller for battery and sexual assault for a symbolic one dollar and won the case. This event served as the exigence for Swift to become more involved with politics. During this time she wrote “Only The Young” which references how important it is for young Americans to be involved with politics. She also posted to Instagram about her support for the Tennessee democrat candidates Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives right before the election. Swift would later draw attention to this election in her “Miss Americana” documentary where she further discussed her disdain for Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Teneessee. 

When interviewed by Vogue Magazine on why she specifically chose to focus on LGBTQ+ issues, she responded, “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.”

In October of 2023, Swift’s re-recorded version of 1989 was released. Alongside the album came a prologue that gave insight into Swift’s mindset when she originally released the album in 2014. This prologue clarifies how Swift felt about the constant “sl*t shaming” she faced and how she naively believed cutting off male friendships and only focusing on female friends could help her situation. In this prologue she wrote, “It became clear to me that for me there was no such thing as casual dating, or even having a male friend who you platonically hang out with. If I was seen with him, it was assumed I was sleeping with him. And so I swore off hanging out with guys, dating, flirting, or anything that could be weaponized against me by a culture that claimed to believe in liberating women but consistently treated me with the harsh moral codes of the Victorian Era. Being a consummate optimist, I assumed I could fix this if I simply changed my behavior. I swore off dating and decided to focus only on myself, my music, my growth, and my female friendships. If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that—right? I would learn later on that people could and people would.”

Even though gaylors claim they’re helping Swift “come out”, if Taylor Swift were genuinely a closeted lesbian, this behavior would be considering “outing.” The term “outing” is used by the LGBTQ+ community to describe revealing a person’s sexuality before they’re ready without their consent. Outing can be a traumatic experience for a person unable or not ready to disclose their sexuality or identity. Ironically this behavior would be hurting Swift who has repeatedly stated she is straight. If Swift is gay, is it up to her to reveal that information to the public. It is not the responsibility of strangers she doesn’t know to reveal her sexuality for her. 

Although some may say this is just harmless fun and nobody’s getting hurt when they speculate on Swift’s sexuality, this is far from the truth. Taylor Swift is a real person. She is not a cartoon character, movie character, or protagonist of a book. She is a human being who has real romantic relationships. It is wrong to insist people in the LGBTQ+ community are confused and must actually be straight. It is also wrong to insist a woman who has identified as straight her entire life is confused and must be gay. Human beings are complex and sexual ordinations are extremely personal. Audiences are not entitled to know any celebrity’s sexual orientation, nor are people entitled to know their peer’s sexual orientation. This speculation normalizes invading others privacy and potentially outing people and hurting LGBTQ+ people. It should be obvious that theorizing on a real person’s sexuality is disrespectful. In a society where celebrities pander to parasocial relationships, audiences only grow more entitled to personal details on stranger’s lives. 

Another argument often made is that gaylors want to support Swift’s music because she’s a gay artist. If these gaylors genuinely want to support music made by sapphic artists, they should actually go out of their way to find artists who are part of the the community. Some of those artists include: Chappell Roan, Girl in Red, Hayley Kiyoko, King Princess, Clairo and more. Some other artists that have sapphic songs include: boygenius, Lucy Dacus, Dodie, Muna, Chloe Moriondo and plenty more.