Taylor Swift has donated $113,000 USD to the Tennessee Equality Project, a nonprofit LGBTQ+ advocacy group that lobbies against discriminatory bills in the singer's adopted home state.
Chris Sanders, the organization's executive director, posted the news on Facebook Monday with a photo of a handwritten note from Swift.
"Taylor Swift has been a longtime ally to the LGBTQ community," Sanders wrote in the post. "She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear."
Swift's note to him reads: "I'm writing you to say that I'm so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the 'State of Hate' in our state legislature. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and those leaders are doing. I'm so grateful that they're giving all people a place to worship."
In a very Swiftian touch, she wrote the letter on custom stationery with a letterhead that reads: "Taylor Swift / Born In 1989 / Loves Cats." (We had to zoom in to see that, and it was completely worth it.)
Swift has spoken up about LGBTQ+ rights before. In the 2018 midterm elections, she endorsed Democrat Phil Bredesen (who ended up losing to Republican Marsha Blackburn) for the U.S. Senate, citing his support for LGBTQ+ rights as one of the reasons.
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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Last June, Swift, wearing a sequinned rainbow dress, gave a heartfelt speech at one of her concerts in honour of Pride Month.
After being heavily criticized for not taking a stand during the 2016 election, Swift has experienced a political evolution. In October 2018, she surprised many when she made her first political endorsement with the post about Bredesen. "In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now," Swift wrote at the time. "I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country."
Swift's post went viral, which led to a spike in voter registrations around the country, including in Tennessee.
"I took a lot of time educating myself on the political system and the branches of government that are signing off on bills that affect our day-to-day life," she wrote in Elle. "I saw so many issues that put our most vulnerable citizens at risk, and felt like I had to speak up to try and help make a change. Only as someone approaching 30 did I feel informed enough to speak about it to my 114 million followers. Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric."
She added: "I'm going to do more to help. We have a big race coming up next year." We're eagerly waiting to see who she endorses in the 2020 presidential election.