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Taylor Swift called out the White House at the VMAs. Here’s her Equality Act petition, explained

Taylor Swift was in the spotlight at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards — and she used part of her screentime to remind the Trump a dministration that she’s waiting on a response to a petition.

While accepting the Video of the Year award, the pop star said the honor signaled fans’ support of her message of in “You Need to Calm Down.” The single has been received as an LGBTQ ally anthem for its emphasis on self-love, community support and acceptance as themes and feature of celebrities, including the Fab Five of “Queer Eye,” Laverne Cox and Ellen DeGeneres. The video for the single, which also took home the “Video for Good award,” includes an ask for viewers to sign Swift’s petition to the U.S. Senate in support of the Equality Act to demand that “on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.”

“You voting for this video means that you want a world where we are all treated equally under the law regardless of who we love — regardless of how we identify,” Swift said. “At the end of this video, there was a petition and there still is a petition for the Equality Act, which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. I want to thank everyone who signed that petition because it now has a half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.”

When mentioning the White House, Swift lifted her arm and tapped her wrist as though she were looking at a watch and waiting for something overdue.


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The Equality Act, which passed the House in May and is making its way through the Senate, would extend federal discrimination protections to explicitly include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill would ban anyone from being denied access to shared facilities, such as a restroom or a locker room, that is in accordance with their gender identity and would put a stop to the use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to challenge these discrimination protections.

The legislation would also allow the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Swift emphasizes in her petition that the Equality Act would “protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, schools, and other public accommodations.”

“Our country’s lack of protection for its own citizens ensures that LGBTQ people must live in fear that their lives could be turned upside down by an employer or landlord who is homophobic or transphobic,” Swift wrote on Change.org, adding that she created the petition to urge the Senate to support the Equality Act with pressure from voters. “The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable.”


As of Tuesday morning, Swift’s petition had 509,169 signatures.