During the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday evening, singer Taylor Swift called out the White House for its inaction regarding promoting equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community.
Swift won an award for her music video “You Need To Calm Down,” a pro-LGBTQ anthem that features a link at the end to a petition sponsored by the singer in support of the Equality Act. The proposed bill has passed the House of Representatives, and would bar discrimination against individuals over their sexual orientation, gender, or other identifying traits in employment, housing, and other societal aspects.
Swift thanked her fans in her acceptance speech for promoting her video. “In this video several points were made, so you voting for this video means that you want a world, where we’re all treated equally under the law,” she said, per reporting from CNN.
She also made direct mention of the petition, and called on the White House to issue an official response to it.
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 27, 2019
“It now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” Swift said. She then pointed to her left wrist, a gesture suggesting she was looking at an imaginary watch.
Swift has been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ rights over the past few years, a cause which became personal for her after her friend, singer-actor Todrick Hall, asked her a question about what she’d do if her hypothetical son was gay.
“The fact that he had to ask me…shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough,” Swift said, according to Variety. “If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question.”
Being asked the question drove home the point for Swift that others might not be aware of her views on the issue.
“If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking. It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that,” Swift added.
In calling out the White House, Swift is directly challenging President Donald Trump to address equal rights for the LGBTQ community. The president has not been the friendliest commander-in-chief for those groups, as he’s barred transgender soldiers from serving in the military and plans to implement rules that would allow for businesses to discriminate against customers based on their identities.
Trump promised in the 2016 campaign to be a “real friend” to the LGBTQ community, and to advocate on their behalf if he became president.