Dear Taylor Swift. Pittsburgh’s Trans Kids Need You.

Friday night is one of the two biggest concerts of the year in Pittsburgh – Taylor Swift. The other is Beyonce in August.

The news has devoted multiple segments for the past two weeks, nightly, to the concert – the fans, the hotel rooms being rented, the restaurants, the parking, etc. As someone who lives exactly 1 mile from the venue (Acrisure Stadium), I am very aware that I will have to either hunker down all day and night or flee to the suburbs.

On Friday afternoon, a group of anti-trans folx are holding a permitted protected-speech livestreaming event at our City Hall. That City Hall is along one of the main paths to the concert venue so that should be fun.

I say livestreaming event, because that is what happened last time they were here. They came, they yelled into their camera, there were maybe ten of them and hundreds of counterprotestors. They claimed the police supported them. It was sad if it wasn’t so insidious.

The dog whistle to the Proud Boys underscores the insidious racist narrative winding through anti-trans rhetoric.

My neighbor who was targeted happens to be a teenaged Black trans girl. She’s awesome and very brave.

So, Taylor Swift, I wish that you had a chance to know her and hear about her experiences in this town. I wish I could give you one of our #ProtectTransKids yard signs to hold up on stage in Pittsburgh and urge all of your fans to give some thought to what is happening to their neighbor and other kids. I wish I could leave you a “Yinz is a Gender Neutral Pronoun” shirt and explain that yinz is a Pittsburghese term on par with y’all or youse.

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So these dog whistles worry me, Taylor. I worry that while tens of thousands of people will be heading for your concert, enough will be at this livestreaming event to have a traumatic impact on the lives of all of our young trans kids. They will help ban books, make it not okay to say gay, and bring the Proud Boys into our City.

I don’t mind the traffic or the parking wars or any of the impact of your show on Friday in Pittsburgh. You, like my young friend, are an amazing young woman changing the world albeit on a bigger platform. Your fans are fortunate to have your voice countering the anti-trans, racist narratives that bring fear to our lives.

So while I wish I could find a way to shine a light from your stage on my young friend and her friends and the fact that we’ve produced 1800 yard signs, 10000 stickers, and more via crowdfunding and that we already use a gender neutral pronoun so not such a big deal really … I feel okay knowing that you are already showing up for them and shining a brighter light than I can ever hope to.

Thanks, Taylor Swift.


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