The first single off of Taylor Swift’s new album 1989, “Shake it Off” has been unavoidable since its release. It’s been playing everywhere, its carefree, self-loving message and bouncy beat paired with a slightly controversial video has everyone talking – either they love it or hate it, but either way it’s stuck in their heads. But as exciting as the success of “Shake it Off” is that of the album as a whole, and the fact that the opening track of the chart-topping album has a pro-LGBT line.
“Welcome to New York” is a song about the wonders of New York City and has become a subtle pro-LGBT anthem by sneaking in a quiet line about the acceptance of gays in the big city.
In New York, “You can want who you want/boys and boys and girls and girls” belts Swift in the song, a line embedded in the middle amongst a slew of other exciting but less political lyrics. This is the perfect way to handle a pro-LGBT anthem, a strategic blend of the vague pro-self songs of the past and the in-your-face gay acceptance songs we have seen more of as of late. Swift’s new song does exactly what we hope everyone will do – Invite the LGBT community to participate without making it into a big deal.
This is not the first time Taylor Swift has paid subtle tribute to her LGBT fans, though for the most part she has been quiet on the issue until recently she did make herself perfectly clear when she performed at the live televised iHeartRadio awards and gave an even subtler tribute to her gay fans by slightly tweaking the lyrics to her hit “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Where normally her famous lyrics say “the saddest fear comes creeping in/that you never loved me/ or her,” Taylor sang in front of a live audience and all home viewers “the saddest fear comes creeping in/that she never loved me/or her.” A small change but it makes all the difference to fans who appreciate a nod.
Additionally, Taylor Swift has become good friends with the much-adored feminist and LGBT supporter Lena Dunham who she admits has influenced her decision to identify as feminist, and perhaps Dunham’s influence has also helped encourage her to take a more vocal stance on LGBT issues. Swift’s evolution from the sweet, simple country music singer at seventeen to the twenty-four-year-old artist she has become has been exciting and we expect Taylor to steal our hearts again and again as time goes on.