"Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?": Taylor Swift to be honored with the Vanguard Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles

GLAAD announced that it will honor global superstar Taylor Swift with the Vanguard Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 16, 2020. The 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Gilead, Hyundai, and Ketel One Family-Made Vodka. 

GLAAD’s Vanguard Award is presented to allies who have made a significant difference in promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Beyoncé and JAY-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Kerry Washington, Cher, Janet Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Demi Lovato, Whoopi Goldberg, and Patricia Arquette. 

“From boldly standing up against anti-LGBTQ elected officials to shining attention on the urgent need to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination through the Equality Act, Taylor Swift proudly uses her unique ability to influence pop culture to promote LGBTQ acceptance,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “In a time of political and cultural division, Taylor creates music that unites and calls on her massive fan following to speak up and call for change.”

Global superstar Taylor Swift has used her platform to elevate the issues of the LGBTQ community and advocate for the acceptance of LGBTQ people everywhere. At the beginning of LGBTQ Pride month in June 2019, Taylor Swift wrote an eloquent letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander, a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, asking him to support the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in employment, housing, and other public accommodations. Swift also created a Change.org petition encouraging her fans to support the Equality Act, writing: “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. The fact that, legally, some people are completely at the mercy of the hatred and bigotry of others is disgusting and unacceptable. Let’s show our pride by demanding that, on a national level, our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.” 

Later that month, Swift released her single “You Need to Calm Down,” an empowering LGBTQ anthem promoting acceptance and equality, with lyrics including, “Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?” and “Cause shade never made anybody less gay.” The music video for the song features several out LGBTQ celebs including Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox, Adam Rippon, Hayley Kiyoko, the cast of Queer Eye and many more. Upon receiving the award for “Video for Social Good” as well as "Video Of The Year" for the “You Need to Calm Down” video at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, Swift used her speech to bring attention to the Equality Act and call out the Trump Administration for failing to acknowledge her petition, which now has over 575,000 signatures. 

Swift previously made a donation to the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), a Nashville-based group working to defeat six anti-LGBTQ bills, nicknamed the ‘Slate of Hate,’ that were being considered by the state Legislature. As part of its work, TEP convened more than 100 religious leaders to denounce the bills. Swift wrote a note to the organization which read: “I’m writing you to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the ‘Slate of Hate’ in our state legislature.”

During the 2018 midterm elections, Swift penned a passionate message on Instagram to raise awareness around the anti-LGBTQ record of Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn during her reelection campaign. Swift wrote: “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.”

GLAAD also announced that it will honor Janet Mock with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 16, 2020. Nominees for the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be announced on Wednesday, January 8. Additional honorees for the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York will be announced soon. 

For more information about the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards, please visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards