There’s been no shortage of fan theories in the lead-up to Taylor Swift‘s latest album, Lover, altogether ranging from semi-plausible to downright conspiracy. One of the most prominent, however, has been that Swift is planning to come out. There’s no mention of that rumor in particular in Vogue‘s September issue cover story—unsurprisingly so, seeing as the writer notes that Swift seemed to enjoy being interviewed about topics other than her music “about as much as she’d enjoy a root canal.”
But Swift does open up about some of the main reasons that speculation over her sexuality began in the first place. Take, for example, how Swift spent this past Pride Month: She gave a surprise performance at New York’s legendary Stonewall Inn. (By contrast, the first time she performed this year was to a crowd that included Jared Kushner.) Then, two days later, she released the music video for her single “You Need to Calm Down,” which takes place in a rainbow-drenched trailer park. Katy Perry’s (somewhat) surprise appearance in the video made the most headlines, but she was far from the only one to make a cameo: The video also featured an expansive roster of LGBTQ celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, Billy Porter, and the cast of Queer Eye. In the song’s lyrics, Swift also explicitly mentions the pro-LGBTQ group GLAAD.
As for how all that came to be, Swift pointed to a conversation she recently had with her friend Todrick Hall, the viral video star and Broadway vet who served as co-executive producer of her “Calm Down” video. “Maybe a year or two ago, Todrick and I are in the car, and he asked me, ‘What would you do if your son was gay?,'” Swift recalled. Her response: “‘If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question.'”
“The fact that he had to ask me … shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough,” Swift continued. “If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking. It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”
To be fair, Swift has definitely made moves to suggest her pro-LGBTQ stance. Last year, she denounced the Republican then-senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, pointing to her lack of support for gay rights. Swift then went on to take a stand against the spate of anti-LGBTQ bills in Tennessee through moves like donating $113,00 to the Tennessee Equality Project.
Hall’s question, then, appears to have only been the catalyst for Swift’s sudden decision to, as the writer puts it, “get louder” about LGBTQ rights. “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” Swift said of her reasoning. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze. Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”
For those still stuck on the sexuality rumors, well, she certainly seemed to suggest that she isn’t a part of the LGBTQ community—not that that will stop any of the various speculative headlines to come ahead of Lover‘s release later this month.