Last night, Taylor Swift announced that the first track on her upcoming album Midnights would be called “Lavender Haze.” For a brief moment Gaylors — the community of people who believe Swift is queer — were celebrating, as they assumed Swift’s use of a historically queer color in the song’s title meant that they were winning. Then she elaborated.
I happened upon the phrase “lavender haze” when I was watching Mad Men and I looked it up, because I thought it sounded cool and it turns out that it was a common phrase used in the ’50s where they would just describe being in love. Like, if you were in the lavender haze, that meant you were in that all-encompassing love glow, and I thought that was really beautiful… I guess theoretically when you're in the lavender haze, you'll do anything to stay there and not let people bring you down off of that cloud. And I think a lot of people have to deal with this now —not just, like, quote-unquote public figures — because we live in the era of social media and if the world finds out that you're in love with somebody, they're gonna weigh in on it. Like my relationship for six years, we've had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it and so this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff. I hope you guys like it.
They did not like it. The penultimate sentence in Swift’s video imploded the Gaylor community. Referencing her relationship with Joe Alwyn was one thing, but calling out “weird rumors” was, to them, a direct attack on them specifically. To give you the general tenor of the Gaylor community at the moment, here’s a video posted by Kaelee Overfield, who the New York Times recently dubbed “The Lesbian Perez Hilton of TikTok”:
“You’re coming at us right now, are you kidding me,” Overfield asked. “Us Gaylors, we are Ukraine. Taylor, you just handed Russia nuclear bombs.” In this poorly timed analogy, Russia is the “Hetlor” community, the people who fervently believe that Swift is straight.
The vibe over on Reddit was equally apocalyptic. The r/GaylorSwift subreddit went private, and people wrote thousand-word posts about how devastating this new update was, how Swift’s actions have begun to feel like queerbaiting, and how this is one of the biggest mistakes she’s ever made.
“She basically hit the big red ‘homophobia’ button,” one user wrote. “She just gave the Hetlors all the justification they need to be even more homophobic and hateful towards us. I don’t really care if she is or isn’t gay, but damn does it hurt for her to have basically given them the green light.”
This is not as dramatic as it might seem, as the Hetlors did almost immediately post about Swift being on their side.
As with all insular fan drama, there are no winners here. Whether intentionally or not, Swift did add gasoline to a fire that had, up until this point, been mostly embers. And she didn’t even release a single as a consolation.