Taylor Swift Promotes the Equality Act (and Shades the White House) in VMAs Video of the Year Speech
On Monday, during her acceptance speech for video of the year for “You Need to Calm Down,” the singer, who recently released her Lover album, thanked her fans and followers for supporting the federal legislation which would prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“In this video, several points were made,” said Swift, 29, referencing the very clear pro-LGBTQ messages in the song and the accompanying Todrick Hall-produced music video
Applauding her fans for voting for her, the pop star, who sings ”Cause shade never made anybody less gay’ in her song, said in her speech: “You voting for this video means you want a world where we’re all treated equally, regardless of who we love and how we identify. … We deserve equal rights under the law.”
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“I want to thank everyone who signed that petition because it has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” Swift said, before making a conspicuous checking-my-watch gesture — as though she knew how Donald Trump‘s administration really felt about LGBTQ people.
Barack Obama‘s administration had a policy of responding to petitions with a certain amount of signatures, which Swift was referring to, though Trump has not continued that.
For Pride, Swift launched a petition urging the Senate to vote on the Equality Act. The White House has said they do not support the Equality Act but insists the government “absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind.”
Swift was joined Monday night on the VMAs stage by Hall and many of the celebrity guests who co-starred in her video.
“I love my cast, I’m so grateful for everyone who was in the video. … My cast lives their lives so authentically,” Swift said, acknowledging Hall, the RuPaul’s Drag Race queens, Dexter Mayfield, among others.
Earlier in the night, Swift backed the Equality Act petition during her VMAs opener when her “You Need to Calm Down” performance concluded with the words “Equality Act” largely written behind her dancers before transitioning into the debut TV performance of “Lover.”
In June, shortly before Pride month officially began, the star shared a copy of a letter she had written to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican, urging him to support the Equality Act. Although the legislation was passed by the House last month, many Republicans have spoken out against it.
“I personally reject the President’s stance that his administration, ‘Supports equal treatment of all,’ but that the Equality Act, ‘in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,’ ” Swift wrote. “That statement implies that there is something morally wrong with being anything other than heterosexual and cisgender, which is an incredibly harmful message to send to a nation full of healthy and loving families with same-sex, nonbinary or transgender parents, sons or daughters.”
This isn’t the first time Swift has been outspoken about politics.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the singer candidly spoke about her disapproval of President Trump. “[He’s] gaslighting the American public into being like, ‘if you hate the president, you hate America,” Swift said. “We’re a democracy — at least, we’re supposed to be — where you’re allowed to disagree, dissent, debate.”
“I really think that he thinks this is an autocracy,” Swift added, in reference to the system of government in which one person has absolute power. “I just can’t believe this is happening,” Swift said, vowing to “do everything I can for 2020.”
The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards are airing live from Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Monday, Aug. 26, at 8 p.m. ET.