Taylor Swift fans praise ‘incredible’ trans representation in Lavender Haze music video
Taylor Swift has come out swinging for trans representation by recruiting trans actor and model Laith Ashley for her new music video.
Ashley stars as Swift’s love interest in the gorgeous new visual for song “Lavender Haze”, the second single from her record-breaking album Midnights.
Swift teased the cameo back in October following the album’s release, and fans have been intrigued to find out which video Laith would be appearing in.
The video, which is directed and written by Swift, opens with the singer and Ashley in bed together, while the pair cuddle up towards the end of the song in a shot being hailed a “queer kickback scene”.
Given the endless barrage of abuse levelled at the trans community right now, fans are elated to see trans representation feature so prominently in a music video from one of the biggest pop stars on the planet.
“During a time where trans people are constantly under attack and facing prejudice at what seems like all corners, having a major pop star like Taylor swift feature a trans man as a love interest in a charting song is a huge deal,” one person wrote.
“I love this so much,” said another. “For arguably the biggest musician in the world right now to have a trans man play her love interest is massive. The trans community, and wider LGBTQ+ community are under attack and so having this kind of representation is incredible. Thank you @taylorswift13.”
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“Tonight Taylor Swift is saying ‘Trans Rights’,” another concluded.
The “Anti-Hero” star has drawn praise from LGBTQ+ organisation the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) too, as they expressed how “incredible” it is to see an out trans man starring in a video from such a huge star.
Upon the release of Midnights last October, “Lavender Haze” reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100. Months later it remains in the top 40, meaning the video is likely to receive plenty of airtime on TV channels globally.
At the time of writing, the video has been viewed more than two million times, despite premiering mere hours ago.
That’s an awful lot of people who will get to see trans excellence in action thanks to Taylor Swift.
Following the video’s release, Swift expressed her love for Ashley, saying that he was “incredible” and that she “adored” working alongside him.
He responded by thanking Swift for giving him an experience he will “never forget”.
The “Lavender Haze” video is also being called a queer-coded dream for several reasons aside from Ashley’s cameo, as the colour lavender has historically been linked with the LGBTQ+ community.
In 1926, Abraham Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg wrote that the former president had a “streak of lavender” running through him — a phrase which was later used to suggest that Lincoln was gay.
Then, in the 1950s, a moral panic in the US led to the mass dismissal of homosexual government workers in a move that was later labelled the ‘Lavender Scare’.
In the 1970s, the group Lavender Menace rose to prominence as they fought for the liberation of lesbians during a time when the feminist movement still focussed on the voices of heterosexual women.
A ‘Lavender Marriage’, meanwhile, refers to a ‘heterosexual’ marriage between a man and women, in which one or both of the pair are actually queer.
Lastly, there’s the Lavender Rhino — a symbol from the ’70s which was used to depict queer pride and increase LGBTQ+ visibility in Boston, US.
There’s also one particular scene in “Lavendar Haze” in which Swift, Ashley and their friends are just hanging out, but Swift’s fans have a little suspicion that all those in the scene are supposed to be queer.
This isn’t the first time where Swift has screamed “queer rights” with her chest, and it hopefully won’t be the last.
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