Taylor Swift donates €100,000 to fight anti-LGBT+ laws

Pop star supports group fighting a ‘slate of hate’ bills in Tennessee

Taylor Swift: “I’m so inspired by the work you do.” Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Taylor Swift: “I’m so inspired by the work you do.” Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

 

Pop superstar Taylor Swift has donated $113,000 (€100,300) to an LGBT+ group to support its fight against laws in the US state of Tennessee that would roll back gay and transgender rights, according to the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP).

Swift, who began her career in Nashville, Tennessee, made the contribution to Tep, a Nashville-based group which recently convened more than 100 religious leaders to denounce anti-LGBT bills which are part of a so-called “slate of hate” going through the legislature.

The bills would allow adoption agencies to block LGBT+ people, defy same-sex marriage laws and include measures to defend school officials that make trans people use toilets and changing rooms corresponding to their “biological sex”.

“I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organising the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the ‘Slate of Hate’,” Swift (29) wrote in a note to the project’s director.

The project said in a Facebook post that Swift had been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community. The post included a photo of Swift’s note.

“@TaylorSwift13, this lit up my heart,” tweeted talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, whose show was cancelled a year after she came out as gay in an episode in 1997.

Same-sex marriage was legalised in the US in 2015 after a Supreme Court ruling. However, some states have tried to row back on LGBT+ rights. A North Carolina law requiring trans people to use bathrooms matching their birth sex was repealed in 2017 after a year, following businesses and sports leagues boycotting the state.

Tennessee is ranked as one of the country’s most religious states by the Pew Research Center with 73 per cent of adults “highly religious” and 52 per cent of the population evangelical Protestants.

While Swift has faced criticism in the past about her silence on her political views, in October, she endorsed two Democratic candidates for Congress, drawing both praise and criticism: Donald Trump said he now liked Swift’s music “about 25% less”.

In a list of “30 things I learned before I turned 30” that Swift contributed to Elle magazine in March, she wrote about “finding my voice in terms of politics”.

“I realised that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric,” Swift wrote. “I’m going to do more to help. We have a big race coming up next year.” – Reuters, Guardian

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