To celebrate Pride Month, Taylor Swift used social media to launch a rainbow-colored petition asking fans and legislators to endorse the Equality Act, a bill, sexual orientation, and gender identity as protected classes under the Civil Rights Act Federal introduces.
"Although we have so much to celebrate, we also have a long way to go before everyone in this country is treated the same," wrote the Grammy winner. "I decided to open Pride Month with a letter to one of my senators to explain how much I think the Equality Act should be passed."
The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act last month, with all Democrats and eight Republicans voted in favor. In addition to enshrining sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, legislation would create a civil right for male athletes to identify themselves as women at all times without any sign of physical changes to their bodies.
In her letter to promote legislation, Swift said, "A recent study shows that over 64% of Tennesseans support laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination."
"According to reports," she said, "the majority of Americans in all parties support this non-discrimination protection for LGBTQ people (81% liberals, 76% moderate and 55% conservatives)."
It is difficult to verify these statistics because the country singer who became pop did not quote her sources. But we know the results of a more detailed survey asking Americans how they feel about transgender people doing sports.
According to a recent nationwide telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports, only 28% of American adults advocate that biological men participate in girls' sports. This could be possible under the Equality Act.
This is a clear contrast to the numbers quoted by Swift on the "majority of Americans across all parties" who support undisclosed "non-discrimination" measures.
>>> 7 reasons why the Equality Act is anything but
In public order, the devil is always in the details and there is always the danger that unintended consequences arise. It is easy to say that you are abstracting against "discrimination" until you realize what this protection entails.
Of course, Swift's misleading form of Instagram activism is nothing new. Hollywood elites have been calling us virtue for years. We still like their music, but Donald Trump's election has shown that Americans are pretty good at changing their political views.
Until recently, the singer of "Sparks Fly" (one of my personal favorites) was the mother of politics. It was refreshing. But not anymore. In a recent article written for Elle titled "30 things I learned before the age of 30," Swift responded to her change of mood:
I find my voice in relation to politics. It took me a long time to learn about the political system and government branches that sign bills that affect our daily lives. I saw so many issues that endangered our most vulnerable citizens, and I felt I had to contact them to try to make a difference. It was not until someone approached 30 that I felt well enough informed to talk about it with my 114 million followers. Summoning racism and provoking fear is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it is my responsibility to assert my influence against this disgusting rhetoric. I will do more to help. We have a big race ahead of us next year.
I think we can all welcome Swift's decision to learn about the various branches of government before we become an Instagram activist. Unfortunately, that's unlikely to be what other A listeners did. But as a Taylor fan from their first single and as someone who turns 30 this year, I've learned a few things, especially in the political arena.
In my relatively short time here I learned to speak With People are far more effective than talking at the People. I learned what a privilege it is to have the platform that I do, and how important it is for me to handle it responsibly.
Responsible engagement does not mean shouting at others what I think is right and why – though the words are certainly part of it. It also means engaging with other people's ideas and being ready to discuss and defend my own in a civilian way. Because in this room nothing is as important as a real civil debate.
This is frustrating for Swift's new Instagram activism – and all Instagram activism. There is no room for real conversation.
On Instagram, Swift does not even allow her followers to comment on her posts, meaning her rainbow-colored puffs are always one-sided. Only those with their own platforms can answer. And even then it's a game of chance when she reads it.
If their followers read how they deal with the Equal Opportunities Act, some would like to return. "But Taylor, did you know that legislation could wipe out women's sports?"
But unfortunately, it offers nothing but a "blank space". It must be nice to never have to worry about these kinds of setbacks.
The Equality Act is far more complicated than what a unilateral press release with two distances in the rainbow can convey. It is a bill that would have an impact on individuals and institutions for years to come.
Taylor, if you support it so much, go to TV and discuss it. Answer the difficult questions of how the legislation would force health professionals to conduct trials against their will and close care and adoption agencies, drug rehabilitation centers and homeless centers. Talk to foster children who would never be housed with their parents because their facilities need to be closed.
Sit down and chat with high school girls like Selina Soule, the 16-year-old Connecticut track star who missed the opportunity to compete with college recruits because biological boys who identify as girls are taking their place to have. Face the unpleasant fact that bourgeois families like them may receive grants that will be awarded to biological boys in the event of progress in this bill.
Would that be equality or justice?
>>> Pelosi's Gender Equality Act could lead to more parents losing custody of children interested in "gender reassignment".
Although she takes the time to learn about politics, Swift is still misinformed. We all want equality, but the so-called equality law would do the opposite.
If Swift wants to work faithfully with her 114 million fans, she has to do more than publish pretty press releases. She must have the courage to face the not-so-funny questions, and prepare to be held accountable for the (false) information she spreads.
In my 20s, I've learned that Instagram activism is the easy way – you will not be held accountable and you do not really have to get involved. The hard work begins by answering the difficult questions – most other celebrities pretend they do not exist.
Fortunately, Swift will not turn 30 until December 13th. She still has time to prove she dislikes the other and to include this all-important lesson in her list.