Taylor Swift threw away her longtime reputation of a politically neutral celebrity six months ago by backing Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterms. After promising to be more politically involved, the superstar put her money where her mouth is and donated $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project, a political group that fights against anti-LGBT legislation in the state.
“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 ‘Slate of Hate’ in our state legislature,” Swift said in a handwritten letter to the group’s executive director, Chris Sanders.
“Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and these leaders are doing,” she wrote. “I’m so grateful that they’re giving all people a place to worship.”
According to The Tennessean, over 100 clergy members signed a statement in March speaking out against six anti-LGBT bills that were being considered in the Tenessee State Assembly. The bills included allowing adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples, punishing transgender individuals who use a gendered bathroom opposite of the sex they were assigned at birth, and designating Tennessee as a state that supports marriage between men and women only.
The Tennessee Equality Project organized the clergy members that fought against the bills.
News of Swift’s donation quickly spread after Sanders posted the letter he received from Swift on Facebook on Monday, and many are already expressing their gratitude to the country-turned-pop singer.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 9, 2019
Swift’s sudden entrance into political activism last year started with a message to her 114 million Instagram followers, telling them she would be voting for Tennessee Democratic candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper for the Senate and House, respectively.
“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,” she wrote in October.
She’s since promised she would step up her activism game, especially for the 2020 election.
“I’m finding my voice in terms of politics,” she wrote in a piece for Elle Magazine in March. She continued:
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. 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.”