Taylor Swift donates $113,000 to fight for LGBTQ rights in Tennessee
Taylor Swift has donated the considerable sum of $113,000 to aid in the fight for LGBTQ rights in Tennessee - the state where she has lived since she was 14 years old.
The Tennessee Equality Project - a group that "advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ people in Tennessee" and is currently fighting anti-LGBTQ bills being proposed in the state, received the sum from Swift, 29, along with a handwritten note praising the group for standing up to the so-called 'slate of hate'.
Taylor Swift has spoken up about LGBTQ rights before - here's her addressing LGBTQ fans during a concert:
The note, addressed to Tennessee Equality Project executive director Chris Sanders, said:
"Dear Chris, I'm writing to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders against the ‘slate of hate’ in our state legislature.
"Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and these leaders are doing. I'm so grateful that they're giving all people a place to worship."
In response to Taylor Swift's generous donation, Chris Sanders thanked the singer in a Facebook post, describing her as a "long-time ally" of the LGBTQ movement in the state.
"Taylor Swift has been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community. 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. Tennessee Equality Project is honored and grateful to reveal Taylor Swift has made a donation of $113,000 to support our efforts at this critical moment."
Tennessee native Nick Morrow, who also works as press secretary for southern states on the LGBT+ rights group Human Rights Campaign, paid tribute to Swift for her donation, expressing his delight on Twitter in a series of puns.
"INCREDIBLE: Taylor Swift just made a sizable donation to @tnequality and wrote a heartfelt note thanking the organisation for its work in trying to defeat the anti-LGBTQ ‘slate of hate’ in Tennessee," Morrow wrote. "As a gay Tennessean who loves Taylor Swift, one could say this news is.......... taylor-made for me."
Swift has come out for LGBTQ rights before, releasing a statement on Instagram ahead of last November's midterm elections, announcing she was voting Democrat and slamming Republican Senate hopeful Marsha Blackburn for her "appalling and terrifying" voting record:
"[Blackburn] voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the reauthorisation 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."
The 'slate of hate' mentioned by Swift and Tennessee Equality Project refers to six bills submitted to the Tennessee General Assembly that would severely hamper LGBTQ rights in the state, from issues like bathroom rights to marriage rights.
One of the bills included would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples looking to adopt a child.