Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, Francesca Roh/Xtra
Salty Queers
3 min

Taylor Swift heard about homophobia and now she’s woke

Queers react to the pop star’s new, GLAAD-boosting single, ‘You Need to Calm Down’

Taylor Swift is finally up and now she’s ready to talk.

On Thursday, in the middle of Pride month, Swift released her newest single. And surprise! It’s all about The Gays™.

After her pastel-shaded extravaganza Me, Swift has fully embraced all the colours of the rainbow with the song You Need To Calm Down to celebrate LGBTQ2 communities (or was it a note to self?).

The three-minute sugary confection is a critique of homophobes (and possibly some of her own haters) and has been unofficially endorsed by the LGBTQ2 media watchdog GLAAD. It comes on the heels of her recent call for Republican Senator Lamar Alexander to support the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ2 people from discrimination at home, in schools and at work (even though she was unfortunately silent throughout the 2016 US election.)

But rather than striking a blow for queer rights, the song conflates #PopStarProblems with rampant discrimination and queer- and trans-bashing. (Bonus: The lyric video could double as a promo for the next season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.)

Below, we unpack some of our favourite lines:

“Say it in the street, that’s a knock-out
But you say it in a tweet, that’s a cop-out”

The most plausible scenario for the genesis of these lines: Someone on Swift’s team showed her a mean tweet about queer people and now she’s a woke ally.

“And I ain’t tryna mess with your self-expression
But I’ve learned a lesson that stressin’ and obsessin’ ’bout somebody else is no fun”

Here, we witness Swift trying to appease the free speech folks that you know will be coming for her brand (because expressing hatred or whatever is their right, or so they say). But, really? I mean, I guess she’s not wrong: homophobia and transphobia aren’t fun . . .

Credit: Courtesy Taylor Swift YouTube

“Snakes and stones never broke my bones”

Taylor never forgets to play the Taylor card in all of her songs — even in the ones about being a good ally.

“You need to just stop, like can you just not step on my gown?”

This part, Taylor is pissed and she wants you to know it. Someone had the audacity to step 👏 on 👏 her 👏 gown 👏 and we need to know that in a song ~allegedly~ about LGBTQ2 Pride.

“You are somebody that we don’t know
But you’re comin’ at my friends like a missile”

We’re with Taylor on this one. We also wonder: who is this person and why are they so rude to Taytay and her squad?

Credit: Courtesy Taylor Swift YouTube

“Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD? (You could be GLAAD)”

All snark aside, let’s take a moment to applaud Swift for making a massive donation to GLAAD this year, because it’s a tangible action that really can improve the representation of LGBTQ2 people.

That said: Really? You’re name-dropping GLAAD? At least Macklemore got an actual lesbian to sing on his gay-loving track. (It also doesn’t appear that Swift is donating any proceeds of the song to GLAAD, though they seem to be loving it anyway.)

“Sunshine on the street at the parade
But you would rather be in the dark ages
Makin’ that sign must’ve taken all night”

We think Taylor wants us to know that a) she knows history and b) she’s bad at rhyming. 🤷

“You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace
And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate”

. . . is this about us??? 👀

Credit: Courtesy Taylor Swift YouTube

“’Cause shade never made anybody less gay”

And a song that mentions GLAAD never made anybody the best ally so . . . 🍵


Taylor Swift’s new song

Credit: Courtesy Taylor Swift YouTube

and she needs to

Credit: Courtesy Taylor Swift YouTube