What I’ve learnt of womanhood, creativity and my own queerness thanks to obsessing over Taylor Swift.

It comes as no surprise. She is in the spotlight once more, as if there’s nowhere else she should be. We are all still looking at her, a self-confessed mirror ball that will reflect us. When named, everyone automatically knows who we’re talking about: blonde, ever so apparently young, tall and fair, song-writer, lover of cats…

She was recently crowned artist of the decade, too.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion, with a fourteen year long career and a total amount of eight albums –the latest having been released barely three days ago–, Taylor Swift has engraved her name on the walls of history.

And rightfully so.

Taylor Swift’s promotional shoot for folklore (2020)

At the age of 30, Swift’s career has lasted longer than her childhood ever did. She signed her first contract at fourteen, recorded her first album and then proceeded to go on her first tour. Numbers were great and, with Our Song (‘Taylor Swift’, 2006), she seemed to be going places quite –let’s say– swiftly. Right after that came an expected second album (Fearless, 2008), barely two years after the first one, with which she broke records and landed one of the biggest hits of our contemporary music history.

Her origin story is a one-time phenomenon. Hardly anyone could’ve predicted the lengths her seemingly childish and innocent work would go. It is also a story where many different agents came into play, but we will ignore them in order to continue watching the reel.

Love Story (Fearless, 2008) was suddenly being blasted everywhere. Youtube, Myspace and many other streaming services were pretty recent back then. However, she was smart enough –along with her label– to start creating herself a space in them. With her retelling of a forbidden love story such as Romeo and Juliet’s, Swift’s work started to resonate with a really specific target: young girls who, just like her, fantasized about the greatest love story of all times. And she connected with them –many of them being her same age– through these sites. She befriended them and thanked them for their support all of the time, winning their sympathy and engaging in a relationship with them as well.

In that context, she easily became an international sensation. She also grew up to become some sort of a mythological creature, an oddity of sorts.

I remember listening to Love Story for the first time, being twelve, and feeling the power of her voice expressing a longing I rarely felt identified with. She had us teen girls sighing, with our heads leaning on windows, longing for love and crying to a fictional fantasy. Much like Jane Austen before her, Swift knew how to create the perfect beau: fair, loving, caring, dedicated. Most of the time he was also almost impossible to reach, but it didn’t stop her from wanting him. Some other times, he’d be there just in time. Just like in You Belong With Me, the voice was loud, over the band. Even when it seemed a one-sided type of love, the voice had agency, writing these feelings as open letters to the world. And sharing those stories with her became an important part of the experience, of course.

Along with the myth and the public persona she would grow to be, Taylor Swift was the artist and those boys –if boys– were the muse.

It is not accidental that her first hits were love songs. Most of them have been. As she has stated a million times during her career, love is the one universal topic she is truly passionate about. In all its shapes: in its absence, in its healing times, to a lover or a friend, her love to a family member. There has scarcely been limits to the types of love she has written about. And even when she wrote songs about many other topics –loss, growing up and even chosen families–, the love song has always been her vehicle to express her personal fears and hopes.

Through the overlooked idea that she only wrote stupid love songs for girls, Swift’s work was put out into the world. It worked as an open diary of some sort, one in which she addressed her lovers, either praising their stories together, resenting them or even longing for their affection.

It is for this exact reason that her work is to be considered confessional. No other labelling would truly reflect it better than that.

Her work is deeply narrative and introspective. There’s also a closeness to her public life that is hardly impossible not to consider when listening to her work. Exploring the contemporary writing narrative spaces, Swift built a whole universe around her and her persona. One where anyone who listened could unveil secrets of her personal life, as if she was friends with her.

She has reinforced this notion for years with clues, hints, parallels through her lyrics –building an imaginary for each lover, creating comparisons between them–, and interviews, and with her live performances. Through all of it, she has offered depth to these intimate and personal stories, as if she wanted all of it to come into play.

Flash-forward.

It’s 2014 and, along the release of her 5th album, ‘1989’, her life has turned away from that initial southern belle persona to a renewed one.

There’s certainly a breach between ‘Red’ (2012), which is presumably a quite sad time for her, and the next album. Suddenly, there’s a genre shift. But that’s not everything. Right after a very big time for her, with all the recognition her third album (Speak Now, 2010) had brought, things seemed to require change: she cut her hair, changed her looks, moved out.

The thing is, all of a sudden, Swift is 23, New York’s ambassador, attending night parties, queen of a squad of privileged and pretty girls that surrounded her at all times. Against all odds, and after a terrible scrutiny of her personal life from the media, she has positioned herself as international music success.

Much like Jay Gatsby himself, now a very renowned American myth, she laughed at the different faces the world had made of her and stood her ground by being louder than ever.

Taylor Swift is suddenly everywhere: the news, talk-shows, press. Even people from my small Spanish town have heard her name. They have formed an opinion based on articles and seem to be tired of the whiney singing girl. And, as she comes back with a pop album, people scoop in crowds to watch her as they’d watch a newly made toy.

It’s all a little bit plastic: new life, new me.

Personally, even when I still related to her confessional work, I felt that she was then more unreachable than ever. It felt like I had had a friend whom I had parted ways with. Her livelihood had changed but mine remained the same: while I was still barely nineteen and studying in university –struggling to pay rent and battling my own mental health–, she was a music icon living luxuriously and not having to trouble herself with the trouble of making a living.

I still loved hearing about her and I watched her carefully, with artlessness. But there was something off, and I couldn’t quite tell what that was.

The thing is that from 2014 to 2016, Taylor Swift seemed unstoppable. She had been playing the game for most of her life, and even when she had been close to losing each time, she had risen to every occasion. She had answered to every critique and proved her right to the throne of the music industry. Because, we can’t forget, the notion of an industry makes it a competitive environment, too. She was visionary and ambitious, worked hard and had had the guts to fight through it all.

The media was then obsessed with her. Instead of cracking, she had capitalized on it and had had the first laugh every time.

In a male-dominated industry, a woman in her twenties was ruining the game for everyone else. She could rarely be compared to her predecessors, such as Madonna and Britney Spears, who had once lived a similar fate. Her background was different, so was her personality and her attitude towards her fame and her fans. Even when she was at the top of her game, she connected with them constantly, invited them over to her Tribeca house, etc.

It was then, when, and much needed, came feminism.

Of course, she was accused of whitening feminism and using it for her own profit. However, we need to acknowledge that, despite her privilege, feminism has never been seen as a positive thing to support. And especially not something you could exactly benefit from.

It was 2016, Obama was president, and it seemed easy to express such ideas, as they seemed to be on the main agenda. Coming from a conservative background, her support of feminism could’ve looked partial and profitable but it was most definitely a choice of her own. Her agency was drifting from her songwriting to her daily life, as she entered adulthood after her teenage years had been flashed and scrutinized by the media.

The country music girl had moved onto pop music, gone from a small town to the big city; the context had changed and there were things she had been angry about that she was then only learning how to express.

Having followed her career from her early ages, she was my first contact with feminism, too. And because I admired her and liked her music, because I knew her story, I could use all of her work to understand an important part of our common experience. Yet again, I wasn’t a white millionaire. Nonetheless, I was a white woman who aimed to write as a living and I had started to see how hard it would get.

Our struggles weren’t the same, but they had the same roots.

But I wasn’t the only one who found out about feminism through her. Her new popularity found a way to reach my friends as well, who had once resented her because of the portrait that the media had painted of her. She was angry and loud, and so was I. And so were then my friends, screaming along with Blank Space. They had seen themselves in similar situations the minute they had tried to make choices for themselves. They had been seen as calculated and strategic, egoistic. They had seen themselves humiliated by older men, younger men, men, other girls.

We all learned about terms such as patriarchy, mansplaining and the real meaning of rape. That it not only happened in dark alleys, by strange men. Most like her, we grew up to discover the lies we had been fed and we made the same exact choice of fighting against them. Even when we probably didn’t know much about the theories and thick readings, we started to understand how and why it affected us.

Even when separated by these facts –me not being an international pop star with personal jets, fashion contracts, and several houses in the United States but a middle-class spanish woman eating cheese rolls in a small flat in Barcelona– there still was a thread knitting us together, a common experience that I still couldn’t grasp.

We both were listening and adding more to it: she disappeared and tried to find something beyond all of that and I had to leave my dreams behind to make ends meet. For a while again, but this time it struck me how far gone she was, we were apart.

And when she came back, I was eager to listen to her confession and make my own.

It may have taken me years to find exactly what it was that really kept us walking the same road in different parts of the globe.

With folklore (2020), and after weathering our own storms, we meet again and I think I can finally put it all into words.

I know exactly why Taylor Swift is so important to me. She has been there through a twenty-year old long road of self-discovery. One that we both keep walking. While I watch her open, cover and uncover her own experiences, I’ve learnt how to do the same for myself.

Swift’s music video for Cardigan, featured on folklore (2020).

Even when I thought I didn’t, I lived in a golden cage too. It looked privileged and way above other’s hurting, but it hurt me just the same. I too have looked for places I could hide from that and ignore it for a while just to return to that first incarcerated position. I too have struggled to find the right person to love, for I was trying to find the prince I had been told about in the fairytales. And even if I never gave up on being happy, I considered doing it many times. I deemed loved to be for everyone else, but not me.

Then I thought else, and got angry, and wanted more than I thought was admissible. Swift’s work comforted me and said that no one should feel like they need permission to feel and express themselves.

I had, too, left my hometown, found myself discovering it all; a brand new micro universe where friendship felt more real than ever. Truth to my heart, because I could feel and tell my own story. The city was too a place where I could be brand new and understand scars I wouldn’t have even considered as wounds years prior.

Through all my teenage years, and I still do, I have lived to see how everyone around me has tried to paint a picture over me. One that isn’t who I am, that I will never be. And while it wasn’t clear for a long time, it is now: all of those faces are meaningless. Only I can write about me, for I am the only one who’s holding the pen.

It took finding myself and a horrid honesty to reach this exact place where, I believe, we both are now.

For years and on, speculation was part of the game. Everyone was trying to get it right –get the right key to read her work, whether that was through rose-colored glasses or excruciating microscopic analysis in forum sites and magazines simultaneously.

Was Taylor Swift a terrible lover? Whiney and needy? Was she a mad woman who burned her lovers at the stake, a stake that was made of lyrics and music? Was she cursed? Or was she the curse every person should run from? It only makes sense that she ended up integrating these questions to her confessions, waiting for a love that could either make her forget them or that could erase the notion of doomed fate that was painted all over her career.

Beyond the hold that the patriarchy had on her public persona, the reading of who she was and what she had been through and her intentions; I came across readings of her work through different lenses.

Curiously enough, a different question stood out: could Taylor Swift be gay?

It had a weird ring to it, but it came and made a living in my guts for years. Could she be it? And how was the notion of a really remote possibility (fused with the word usage of the modal verb could) affecting the notion I had of permission and causality? Did she need ratification to be it? Was she allowed to be, and especially after all those songs and music videos and kissing boys and being caught with them on streets and yachts? Was she allowed to see anything out of the ordinary straight love story? Did it mean everything was a lie? Or did it mean that there were more layers I wasn’t able to see? Would it ruin her, finding out? Or would it ruin her if we knew?

Why did it make it all feel as if we needed to explain her love life in our own terms and dissect her again?

Interestingly enough, the question did stand out for that particular reason but it stayed with me for a really different one: did she have to date a woman to be attracted to them? What did it say about her possible attraction to women that we’d have to prove it? Why couldn’t it just be there? Because, if she truly was –attracted to women, that is–, the real question seemed to be: Why? And how could that be?

There are many things we know of her life experience, that resonate with my own experience coming out as a woman who loves women: a personal exile from your hometown that makes it possible for you to truly explore your own identity, the need to lie and hide behind a perfectly crafted version of yourself, a long list of horrible coping methods, fears that it will always be just this difficult. Because Swift has integrated all this emotions from a really early stage of her writing career, I’d dare to say that they might look universal. But, from this side of the road, I recognize sapphic struggle when I see it.

And it was through that exchange, that it’s been possible to me to explore my own sexuality and allow myself that questioning.

If I was talking about a breach between ‘Red’ and ‘1989’ a few lines above, there is clearly a bigger breach between her fifth and sixth album (Reputation, 2017).

By the end of 2016, and right after winning a Grammy with a speech that fought for women to own their work, her public persona was murdered by another impossible scandal. She was pushed down the stairs by Kanye West and affiliates. Reminiscing the first incident in 2008, Swift knew that she’d be destroyed by the media. As they painted it all as a gang fight where famous personas needed to pick sides, Swift, instead of keeping up the fight for that public façade, seemed to just give up and disappeared.

There is something in that part of the story, something in fighting for the real you. Almost every LGBT+ person can identify at least one moment in their lives where they had to run so that they could quieten the screams of our solidified heteropatriarchal society. I personally think this was hers, but it’s not my place to say.

Once again, this might not be Taylor’s experience. We can’t truly know for sure, and it is her story to tell. I won’t dwell on that. However, it was my experience: running, trying to find a safe haven, keeping secrets. I had had to do that in order to survive, to let myself heal and grow stronger and bolder. I knew how it felt and I hoped she could have that as well.

My question was, does this mean that she was forced to sacrifice being an artist? Did we push her into the pool and shoot the gun? How could her writing survive that?

Coming back with Reputation (2017), Swift made her point. She mocked that persona that had been murdered, supposedly having healed that time of her life. She sold out stadiums and kept it up with writing her songs and owning her work. One thing had changed though: she swore not to give further explanation.

It was as if she decided that those who knew, already knew, and that everything she needed to say regarding her story, was already said in her writing.

Delving deeper in the idea of explanation and proof, and going back to the idea that Swift’s love life was a real-time topic of discussion everywhere, she chose to stick to her work. She separated the different narrative I’s. She gave no clue and no interviews to promote the album. There were barely no paparazzi pictures. She was absent at the events that she had attended thus far.

Besides, she was fighting with her label to own her music and signing a new contract with Republic Records. Because, as tricky as it may look, the industry is not owned by the artists but by those who own them.

The thing is, with Reputation, Taylor Swift didn’t deny the rumors. She neither confirmed them. She let everyone read the story from their own perspective for the first time. As the internet was filled with more theories on her story with Dianna Agron (dating back to 2012), and the links between her life in New York with her so-called best friend Karlie Kloss; making new and more accurate love confessions in the album, she stood tall, sang her songs and celebrated that she was still singing and writing.

She never addressed these rumors and, through the years, they have gone from really small Tumblr theories to wide popular knowledge.

As she decided not to comment on those, her latest statements have been of a political-line. With the release of ‘Lover’ (2019) came You Need To Calm Down, a much hyped up summer hit that was written as an LGBT+ anthem. It positioned her as an LGTB+ rights activist as well. From that moment on, Swift has publicly advocated for LGBT+ rights, and she has been quite vocal about it.

She was awarded by GLAAD soon after that for her support of the Equality Act. Even when this seemed to be perceived as performative allyship and queerbaiting, Swift stood her ground and made sure to let everybody know that she’d do as much as she could to support a community she said ‘wasn’t a part of’.

It broke my heart, after all that time, that those words were used by many to diminish a queer reading of her work. Especially as it wouldn’t be uncommon of her to simply deny rumors of her attraction to women in order to maintain her status and salvage her current relationship. But, reminding myself that it truly never was about Taylor’s sexuality, my feelings on the queerness of her texts didn’t change.

Nothing has ever felt as comforting as hearing her say ‘I just think… you are what you love’ in Daylight, the last song from her seventh album ‘Lover’ (2019). The one that was also meant to give its title to the album but was changed last minute.

At that point of my life, I had been dating the woman of my life for almost two years. I was learning many things about myself and, even when I struggled with the idea of having to come out once and again everywhere I went, I was happy with my identity.

I didn’t label myself much, for it brought me trouble sometimes, but I didn’t hide. I let people hear and see their own perception of me, but I didn’t let that perception get to me.

I did not adjust to it to please anyone anymore.

And only then, I realized that my creativity was louder than ever, and that I could get all of those things out of my chest, too.

Even when Swift paraded her new boyfriend around town, her queerness didn’t disappear. To me, it seemed to say that, even when she was presumably dating her loving boyfriend of two years, she was still attracted to women. Nothing made me happier than see that she could reconcile that in her terribly exposed life and find some sort of balance and peace in her own identity.

She has never publicly come out either. As stated above, it seems that she has done quite the opposite. It’s not that I think she needs to, if she doesn’t want to. I admit that I can understand why people would want her to, and sometimes I admit I too fantasize about the world being ready for such a big female artist to admit that she’s loved women just as she’s loved men.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be.

In the last few years, Swift has separated herself from a big range of fans whose ideals lead to some troubling and problematic notions of her. I’m talking about how her face would be labelled as the perfect Aryan queen that would lead the Nazi revolution or the Satanist man-killer she became later on, once she started talking about feminism. (Let it be implied that I’m also adding to this big group of people those who believed that because she was from Tennessee and sang country music, she agreed with the whole having guns and shooting black people.) Because she has separated herself from this and due to her support of the LGBT+ community and GLAAD, she has recently been living in a new state that is more similar to what Ariana Grande and Charlie XCX live. This is, being labelled a gay icon instead.

Traditionally, gay men have had a tight link to pop divas. Because they have lived their own sexual liberation alongside them; and also lived their love fantasies with men through their songs, they seem to have called dibs. These fantasies, let’s say, shone a light on stories where, against all odds, they would be loved back by them. Even when love was forbidden or almost impossible, romance would happen.

I’m talking about Madonna and Britney Spears, whose sexual liberation was, at the same time, an answer to times we see as more strict than Swift’s. But through Swift, we seem to see a tendency to fight for a more teenage-type of love that has matured through age, not that much of a sexual kind.

Pop culture as we know it has a short but wide history. And it is filled with stories as such. Gay icons are rarely people who publicly identify as LGBT+, but pop icons whose experience has been appropriated by a very specific community. That is, normally, cis gay men’s experience.

If you wished to learn more about this, I’d recommend this incredible article I read. Here! But also this one! I find this to be a really interesting topic.

And now, as I live through my daily life and stick to kissing my girlfriend to songs I love and having coffee at exactly five p.m, I wonder if, as gay women, we’ve ever had anything similar to that.

I can’t ask my mum. No one has ever taught me anything. Everything I’ve learned about our collective experience comes from friends, social media and late-night google searches. (Thank god I had the internet, then!) Because, if men had women to tell their sexual liberation and to express their desire for men, wouldn’t it be easy to say that we (as gay women) had men singing about women to fantasize about them?

That seems reductive and wrong. Does the way men muse over women feel anything like I feel? Not really. Much like Céline Sciamma explained better than I will in her interviews and her beautiful film (Portrait of a lady on fire), men rarely see their lovers as beings with agency but objects of their desire. Through history, that’s how they’ve perceived love and romance. And dwelling on how important it is for us to finally free ourselves from the male gaze to understand our own sexuality, I hardly think anyone could state such thing unless they were trying to make lesbians look predatory and odd male-surrogates.

No, unlike what you might have heard: girls don’t exactly like girls the way boys do.

Seeing how easily Taylor Swift’s possible romantic relationships with women are being dismissed hurts me on a different level, though. On a level that hardly has to do with her experience but with the way gay female artists have always been erased and silenced, even dimmed into something else completely.

It’s as if the male vision of something will always prevail beyond anything else. And I don’t like the idea of letting it happen before my eyes.

Even when Taylor Swift has stated that she is not part of the LGBT+ community, she has always been elusive enough.

In her latest works, and every time more, she is freeing herself from the straight and patriarchal universe her fairytales happened in. Every time more, lesbian and bisexual women are seeing ties to their own experiences through her work. And even when she is using characters and tales that supposedly have nothing to do with her in it, her latest album (folklore, 2020) feels the most honest and confessional of them all.

In it, there are traces of that same experience we talked about: hiding from the public, running away, forbidden love and oppressive societies that destroy lovers. How are any of those possibly straight experiences?

There is also cheating, which had never been heard of before. But it’s a specific type of cheating: her lover is married, and she’s out of that bond. She’s being denied the possibility of that happy ending for whatever reason.

Since she doesn’t say why this happens, we’ll just have to imagine the reason.

In folklore, Swift also writes about marriage as a status-driven decision. She talks about love, and resentment, and about going back to that one lover again and again –as if the reasons to their separation were external, not due to falling out of love. She’s constantly trying to find the one thing she could’ve done differently so that it could’ve been possible.

(Could Taylor Swift be gay?)

And, in that, folklore is sad, yes, and desperate. But so were Emily Dickinson’s poems about Susan Gilbert once she married. Doomed and desperate and sad was Virginia Woolf, as she wrote Orlando, wishing Vita Sackville-West to be a man at the receiving end of one of the most beautiful literary long letters ever written. She sent so many of them, over the years!

Much like Swift’s work, Orlando is biographical, too; even when not the historical or empiric type. There’s room for fantasy, for a new language. Even when that language is so easily dismissed by those who keep Woolf and many others hidden in their own golden cages: great voices that are rarely explored in full.

But, what cage are we talking about? A gender cage. And a non-conforming-sexuality cage, too.

Female creativity is studied as such an oddity, still to this day. Women will be seen just partly, of course; as if there were parts of them that were granted worthy of attention through a scale we all know who created. Like Mary Shelley’s youth and lack of education seems to serve as an argument to say that she may not own one of the biggest pieces of modern literature; Swift’s persona and career seem to be enough of an argument to ignore her literary work and her immeasurable talent.

Just as it happened to many women before her –Dickinson, Sackville-West, Woolf, Plath, Sexton, Edna St. Vincent, Adrienne Rich or Mary Oliver; even my beloved Gloria Fuertes–, a woman’s sapphic experience is always easily ignored as well. Dismissed, even. It is not a great character, according to history, to write of such things; women’s sexuality is only relevant if it includes men. But most importantly, if a woman loves another woman and expresses it as they did, the codes they used are ignored and drowned in misreading and even impossible back-ups of some sort.

Sapphic erasure seems to be the only possible way for them to survive time, then. Which leaves us, and new generations, with absolutely no references or tools to survive. No way to understand love, or sex, or creativity, without men. And each and every one of us needs to find themselves blindly hitting branches to get out of a forest you never knew you belonged to. The ever so needed existence of men feels imposed and violent, as some sort of conquest.

To say that Taylor Swift’s work would hurt from a queer reading, but specifically from a gay female perspective, is homophobic. But most specifically, it sounds as if there’s an interest to keep Taylor Swift’s straightness immaculate. She has rarely talked about sex in her work, but love. Is love forbidden, too? Or is it even more forbidden?

It’s as if her being attracted to women would stain every other experience she’s ever had before or the way people identify with her. Would straight girls be scared of knowing they’ve sung about falling in love with their female best friend? Would gay men feel weirded out by it? All these questions that flourish, sadly, would explain the idea of that modal verb could that has been haunting me for years.

Is Taylor Swift really able to display her love for women as she would like to? Does she even have a way to do it? What codes would she be using? Besides, could you tell me what female artist survives past their thirties? Out of those, could you tell me which has been out as an LGBT+ artist?

Does that mean she has to sacrifice herself for her hopes and ambitions, to be great? Does she have to hide a part of herself in order to be a public artist? Does it ever cross her mind? Because, sometimes, I find myself thinking about how impossible it’d be for me, to make that choice.

But it seems that Swift is aware of the power her persona holds, and the way the myth she once created and reinforced will haunt her and everyone around her for the longest time. She talks about it in her latest work, and I can’t tell if she is that sad about it. The part of her that creates seems to be enjoying the possibility of creating; the part of her that loves might be suffering; but the part of her that is being narrated adds up to that myth and is probably what makes folklore even more interesting.

On another note, I think the notion of The Sylvia Plath Syndrome will add to this insight. For a better reading of it, consider this article I read!

Nonetheless, it is undeniable that, much like Sappho herself, Taylor Swift has avoided marriage like the plague, retired to the deep dark forest and written about death, love and unfulfilled promises from lovers who have now married and left her behind. She’s remembering them, wearing them like cardigans and tattoos.

That isn’t something that can be discussed, really; as it can’t be discussed that in the first days of its release, folklore has made it obvious that many lesbian, bisexual and LGBT+ women can see their own experiences with their identities being portrayed by her work. Whether that is suffering for love or through the many references to the works mentioned before that folklore has –to which I’d like to add, did you perceive the ever so present type of musing we were able to see in Portrait of a lady on fire? No? What is it about the obsession with Daisy, one like Jay Gatsby’s? Did you know Taylor was named after someone named James? Are any of these questions curious to you? Are you questioning everything you know?

As Swift has started to direct her own videos, we can see new storytelling choices and leit-motivs; such as the way she seems to look straight at the camera, wanting to be seen.

I’m again dreaming of Emily Dickinson’s work and the way she would write from all those point of views, and how the vastly creative genius who lived a secluded life was denied greatness for so long. I’m thinking about women who wrote, and about women who wrote about women, and about how they’d dreamed and feared and of how their writings still struggle to reach the shores of us. And about how I want to have them with me, each day, as I create.

Hopefully, when it comes to the music industry, we can talk about a new wave of creators that are able to build their personas through their real identities: Hayley Kiyoko, King Princess, Janelle Monae, Clairo, Halsey, etc. Curiously, Swift has supported them all.

Whether that possibility is positive or negative for them, it is yet to be discovered. After all, exposure can hurt too. But most importantly, there are twelve year-old girls out there listening to their lyrics the way I listened to Love Story while I was them. And the stories seem clearer, less like you’d have to wait a few years to understand why all of your love seemed to be wasted away in fantasies.

Taylor Swift is definitely the last of her age, and I don’t really think she’d come out at all. Maybe she isn’t gay at all. Maybe she’s just my gay icon, for her experience resonates with me and we’ve all been projecting our emotions on her all this time. I mean, would it be such a crime? Isn’t that what we do with art? And what is Taylor Swift but a story she has made of herself?

But I can’t think about her as anything but sapphic, as she once was the first girl I ever heard singing about falling in love with your best friend. And I did fall in love with her too, yes. And I understood, in the silence and in the music, that we felt the same.

I think that experience counts too. That that reading of her work is just as valid and plausible, and that dismissing it as some kind of conspiracy theory is violent and cruel. If not Swift, many have lived through that experience themselves, and they have a right to express so.

I would really like to see people embracing the possibility rather than letting them dismiss and erase that part of her. It would feel as if everything I’ve gone through was nothing. Because while I was closeted and questioning myself daily, she was the one who, with all honesty, made me accept myself for who I am: a desperate romantic who will love you to her dying day. Through difficulties, and gender questioning and non-conforming sexualities and possible mistakes. I am what I love.

And a little bit dramatic, yes. But that’s something to discuss on another time.

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Paulapattata

Paulapattata

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