Taylor Swift has made no secret of her support for LGBTQ rights, even penning an open letter to Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander earlier this month, urging the Republican to support the Equality Act now under consideration in the U.S. Congress. The bill “prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
On Friday, Swift took her campaign for LGBTQ equality to the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City, where she performed a brief, surprise solo acoustic set as part event celebrations for Pride Month, as Vulture reported. Specifically, the event marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, generally considered the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement.
Swift was introduced by Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and she announced that she would perform a song that she said was Ferguson’s favorite karaoke number. She launched into a lively version of her 2014 Billboard No. 1 hit, “Shake It Off,” The Hollywood Reporter chronicled. Watch Swift perform the song for an intimate audience of about 100 at Stonewall, in the video below.
On June 28, 1969, angered by a late-night police raid at the Stonewall Inn, patrons of the popular gay nightclub in New York’s Greenwich Village erupted into a riot that led to six days of unrest and violence between police and protesters, setting off a national and worldwide movement to end legal persecution of gay people, as History records.
The unannounced performance came less than 24 hours after Swift released her newest single, “You Need To Calm Down,” which she dedicated to the LGBTQ movement, as The Inquisitr reported.
In the song, Swift directs jabs at opponents of LGBTQ equality, saying that they are stuck in the “dark ages,” as People reported, and including such lyrics as, “You are somebody that we don’t know / But you’re coming at my friends like a missile / Why are you mad? / When you could be GLAAD?”
GLAAD is the 34-year-old watchdog group created to combat what it sees as anti-LGBTQ bias in the media. According to the GLAAD site, the organization was formed in 1985 in response to what it called “grossly defamatory and sensationalized” coverage of the then-surging HIV and AIDS epidemic in the right-wing New York tabloid newspaper, The New York Post.
Swift was not the only performer at the Stonewall event on Friday. In addition to other artists, Sara Bareilles also performed her song, “Brave,” which Billboard described as “her coming-out empowerment anthem.”