Taylor Swift recently came out as a liberal and an LGBTQ ally. To honor her newfound advocacy, GLAAD — which Swift famously namechecked on her single, "You Need to Calm Down" — will bestow her with its 2020 Vanguard Award. Previous honorees of the allyship award are a who's-who of heterosexual gay icons, like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Patricia Arquette, Demi Lovato, Kerry Washington and Jennifer Lopez.
"From boldly standing up against anti-LGBTQ elected officials to shining attention on the urgent need to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination through the Equality Act, Taylor Swift proudly uses her unique ability to influence pop culture [and] to promote LGBTQ acceptance," GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. "In a time of political and cultural division, Taylor creates music that unites and calls on her massive fan following to speak up and call for change."
By now the story of Taylor Swift's political awakening is mythic. As the ex-favorite pop star of Republicans recounted in her 2019 Vogue cover story, a few years back her friend Todrick Hall felt unclear enough about her politics to ask her what she'd do if she had a gay child. Aghast, the formerly apolitical pop star — who took a lashing for not endorsing anyone in the 2016 presidential election — realized she needed to be more vocal.
Swift made her first ever political endorsements in the 2018 midterm elections, endorsing a slate of Tennessee democrats. Last year she released "You Need To Calm Down," at tell-off to her haters and homophobes that confusingly proclaims, "Shade never made anybody less gay." The song's music video ends with a link to a Change.org petition for the Equality Act, which has since garnered half a million signatures — enough to earn an official response from the White House that President Trump has neglected. Swift's also donated to the Tennessee Equality Project, and made a personal appeal to Senator Lamar Alexander (a Republican).
Well, it's the least GLAAD could do to thank Swift for all the free press. The other big honoree of the night will be Janet Mock, who's receiving the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, given each year to an LGBTQ member of the entertainment industry.