by Liza Mackeen-Shapiro
[originally published October 2021]
Karlie Kloss, Dianna Agron, Emily Poe. To the uninitiated observer, the succession of these names will likely appear to be nothing more than a seemingly disparate list of Jared Kushner’s sister in law, Quinn from Glee, and some random third person. However, to anyone who has paid more than a passing glance to any online discussion about the life and work of the wildly successful international pop star-turned-humble underground indie cottagecore vibes singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, this group is easily identifiable as a collection of the singer’s rumored ex-girlfriends.
Now, you might be asking yourself: “Wait, Taylor Swift is gay? Didn’t she write a love song about the guy from Owl City?” While you would be right about that, the sect of online Swifties known as “Gaylors” nonetheless maintain that Swift is a closeted lesbian, citing evidence such as her tendency to write songs addressed towards women from the so-called “male perspective” and the existence of paparazzi candids in which she appears to be acting suspiciously affectionate with her female friends as proof.
Indeed, despite Swift recently celebrating her fifth anniversary with her boyfriend, British actor Joe Alwyn, speculation about the true nature of her sexual orientation remains prevalent as ever — and this heterosexual Swiftie has had enough! Gaylor truthers claim that, even if sometimes tenuous, viewing Swift’s music through a queer lens provides both an interesting and validating opportunity to see their own experiences reflected in the work of one of the world’s most famous musicians. Don’t her straight fans deserve that representation too? The same comfort that Gaylors derive from interpreting songs like Betty as a lesbian anthem is what heterosexual fans like me get out knowing that rapturuous love songs like Enchanted are about the man who sung Fireflies. If the straight community has lost Taylor, the woman who once wore a harness backwards over a “This is my Fight Song” tank top, we truly have no one left.
Ultimately, to paraphrase Swift herself, “Shade never made anybody less straight” — and I’ll continue to maintain my belief in her heterosexuality no matter how many essay length Kaylor or Swiftgron proofs I am presented with by members of the Gaylor community.