Taylor Swift defended by queer county singer named in NYT sexuality article

Taylor Swift (L) was defended by country singer Chely Wright after NYT article.

Queer country singer Chely Wright has slammed a New York Times (NYT) article speculating on Taylor Swift’s sexuality as “awful” after being name-dropped in it.

In the NYT op-ed published on Thursday (4 January), writer Anna Marks argued that Swift could be “stuck in the shadowy, solitary recesses of the closet” based on various queercoded clues in her personal life and wider discography – from rainbow-themed LGBTQ+ anthems to her natural “affinity for queer identity”.

Alongside fan outrage, Swift’s team also hit back against the “gaylor” conspiracy theory that has made the unfortunate jump from niche internet circles to mainstream media.

An insider told CNN that the “invasive, untrue and inappropriate” article wouldn’t have been written “about Shawn Mendes or any male artist whose sexuality has been questioned by fans.” (Although some have pointed out the same NYT writer wrote a similar article regarding Harry Styles in 2022.)

Taylor Swift wears a blue dress while standing in front of a background for her Eras tour. Her team is reportedly furious after the New York Times published an op-ed that claimed Taylor Swift had been hinting she's queer throughout her career
Taylor Swift’s team is reportedly furious after the New York Times published an ‘invasive, untrue and inappropriate’ op-ed speculating about the singer’s queer identity, an insider told CNN. (Getty)

The article begins with a harrowing anecdote about Chely Wright, a lesbian country artist who opened up about a suicide attempt in her 2010 memoir Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer.

In the memoir, Wright explores her struggle to come terms with her sexuality and her place within the music industry.

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Now, Wright has responded to her name and life story being used to propagate the NYT op-ed.

After Variety’s senior music writer Chris Willman criticised the article as “the least defensible op-ed I can remember ever seeing the NYT run”, Wright replied that she “agreed”.

“I think it was awful of [New York Times] to publish,” the 53-year-old musician posted on X. “Triggering for me to read – not because the writer mentioned my nearly ending my life – but seeing a public person’s sexuality being discussed is upsetting.”

Over the past few years, many celebrities have fallen victim to loud internet mobs accusing them of “queerbaiting”.

Public figures such as Billie Eilish, Kit Connor and Ncuti Gatwa have been pressured to address their sexuality after intense speculation, while stars such as Bad Bunny and Harry Styles remain victims of the rumour mill.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.