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HomeGeneralNYTimes Under Fire for Publishing Essay Speculating Taylor Swift’s Sexuality

NYTimes Under Fire for Publishing Essay Speculating Taylor Swift’s Sexuality

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Taylor Swift
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Last week, the New York Times came under fire for publishing a 5,000-word essay speculating on Taylor Swift’s sexual orientation. The opinion piece was titled “Look What We Made Taylor Swift Do.” It contained listed references to the LGBTQ+ community, overt or perceived in Swift’s music. 

It pointed out how the singer was sending coded messages of how she is queer via her music, and quite a number of people were not happy about it. The piece has attracted a lot of backlash from Times readers as well as “associates” of Swift.

A member of Swift’s team, speaking to CNN on the condition of anonymity, said. “Because of her massive success, at this moment, there is a Taylor-shaped hole in people’s ethics.

The person believes that such an article wouldn’t have made it this far if it was about any male artist whose sexuality is under speculation from fans.

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“There seems to be no boundary some journalists won’t cross when writing about Taylor, regardless of how invasive, untrue, and inappropriate it is – all under the protective veil of an ‘opinion piece,’” the person also said.

“This was the least defensible op-ed I can remember ever seeing the NYT run, made all the worst by the fact that it was written by a staffer specializing in these speculations,” Chris Wilman, the chief music critic at Variety, shared on X.

Wilman’s tweet got a repost from Chely Wright. She is a queer country singer, and Mark referenced her struggles to come out in her career in her piece. “I think it was awful of [the New York Times] to publish,” she wrote. Wright said it was triggering for her to get through the piece because it was publicly discussing a person’s sexuality.

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According to Marks, for a long time now, Swift has been trying to signal that she identifies as queer secretly. She believes Swift has left hidden clues in her music. And these clues all come together to “suggest to queer people that she is one of us.”

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There is no doubt that Swift loves the LGBTQ+ community. She has shown support for them in the past, calling her concerts a “safe space” for LGBTQ+ people and rising to their defense in a 2019 interview with Vogue magazine against a record number of anti-gay bills introduced in states across the country. 

However, that does not make her a member of the minority. “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she said in the 2019 interview. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of.”

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Furthermore, Swift has not identified as a member of the queer community herself. In the prologue to the re-record of her 1989 album, Swift said she surrounded herself with female friends at one point in her career to stave the relentless media speculation on her love life.

“If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn’t sensationalize or sexualize that – right? I would learn later on that people could and people would,” she wrote.

ALSO READ: ACLU Condemns Cop Who Searched for ‘Gender Queer’ Book in Eighth-Grade Classroom

Marks, seemingly anticipating the criticisms her essay could face, pre-emptively tried to address potential backlash in her piece. “I know that discussing the potential of a star’s queerness before a formal declaration of identity feels, to some, too salacious and gossip-fueled to be worthy of discussion,” she wrote.

“I share many of these reservations. But the stories that dominate our collective imagination shape what our culture permits artists and their audiences to say and be,” her words read.

“Every time an artist signals queerness, and that transmission falls on deaf ears, that signal dies. Recognizing the possibility of queerness — while being conscious of the difference between possibility and certainty — keeps that signal alive.”

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