Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on Friday released “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” reviving the 2014 album name for her birth year with the addition of previously vaulted tracks. Swift’s life, at the time of the album’s original release, also became distinguished by all-female friendships, a move that came after being consistently romantically linked to men in her life by the media and the public. Since then, a steady undercurrent of fans who believe Swift is not straight, otherwise known as “Gaylors,” have proliferated, decoding the minutia of Swift’s lyrics and music videos to prove a thesis of perceived queerness.
In a leaked document said to be the latest album’s written prologue, Swift supposedly shut down years of speculation about her sexuality. While addressing the slut-shaming she endured early in her career, Swift wrote, “Being a consummate optimist, I assumed I could fix this if I simply changed my behavior. I swore off dating and decided to focus only on myself, my music, my growth and my female friendships. 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.”
Taylor Swift’s prologue for #1989TaylorsVersion
“This moment is a reflection of the woods we’ve wandered through and all this love between us still glowing in the darkest dark.” pic.twitter.com/HGQDTPqKgo
— Taylor Swift Updates (@SwiftNYC) October 27, 2023
The Gaylor rumors first cropped up in 2014, when photos of Swift seemingly kissing her former bestie, supermodel Karlie Kloss, went viral online. At the time, the famed duo were pretty much inseparable, attending Victoria’s Secret fashion shows together and even sharing the cover of Vogue magazine. Although Swift’s rep asserted that the possibility of a Swift-Kloss romance was complete “crap,” Gaylors were adamant that Swift was just in the closet.
Gaylors have since taken over social media, building a community off of a baseless theory that Swift is secretly bisexual. There’s a Gaylor subreddit and several Gaylor accounts on X, like @gaylornews, @accidntlygaylor and @gaylorswiftbot. In the wake of the prologue leak, many diehard Gaylors were expectedly disappointed and even angry that their favorite pop star appears to be merely an ally and not queer herself. Some even went as far as to accuse her of leading them on through queerbaiting.
“Won’t be staying up to listen. F**k that and f**k her for queerbaiting for a decade and then suddenly acting like it never happened,” wrote one angry fan on X. “Was it truly all narcissism to pull the biggest audience she could get?”
Won’t be staying up to listen. Fuck that and fuck her for queerbaiting for a decade and then suddenly acting like it never happened. Was it truly all narcissism to pull the biggest audience she could get?
— Emma 🌼🏳️🌈 (@klosslorgay) October 26, 2023
“I am not a dramatic person but I feel like I’ve been continuously gaslit for almost a decade,” another fan posted on Reddit. “I’ve stuck it out through a lot of things . . . this is basically the nail in my Gaylor coffin.”
Others said they were now “fully done” with Swift and moving “on to openly queer artists.” One self-described “Non-Gaylor” also made a Reddit post titled, “If you’re feeling lost/upset, here are some openly gay people to Stan.”
Popped onto the gaylor subreddit for the first time and it’s somehow funnier than i possibly thought pic.twitter.com/AfxOH9VP1w
— Jacqueline (@Horse_Jeans) October 27, 2023
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Elsewhere in her prologue, Swift discussed her close-knit girl group, writing, “You see — in the years preceding this, I had become the target of slut-shaming — the intensity and relentlessness of which would be criticized and called out if it happened today. The jokes about my amount of boyfriends. The trivialization of my songwriting as if it were a predatory act of a boy crazy psychopath. The media co-signing of this narrative. I had to make it stop.
“Because it was starting to really hurt. It became clear to me that for me, there was no such thing as casual dating, or even having a male friend who you platonically hang out with. If I was seen with him, it was assumed I was sleeping with him, and so I swore off hanging out with guys. Dating, flirting, or anything that could be weaponized against me by a culture that claimed to believe in liberating women but consistently treated me with the harsh moral codes of the Victorian era.”
Later in the prologue, Swift thanked her fans who “knew that maybe a girl who surrounds herself with female friends in adulthood is making up for a lack of them in childhood (not starting a tyrannical girl cult).”
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