A young man at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon just came out to his Christian college with a little help from Taylor Swift.
Reid Arthur was taking part in a lip sync battle at his school, a historically Christian college founded by Quakers, performing a rendition of Taylor Swift’s ally anthem “You Need to Calm Down.” While lip syncing to the lyric, “shade never made anybody less gay,” Arthur’s troupe of backup dancers pulled off his sparkly hoodie, unveiling a shirt festooned with rainbow flag fringe. We love a reveal!
Clearly the judges were impressed by the performance, because Arthur was crowned champion of the lip sync battle — talent won, gay rights, etc — and was awarded a $500 cash prize. Some on social media said that the move was also the performer’s official coming out at the college. Arthur then promptly donated his winnings to Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth.
One GFU alum who had seen Arthur’s performance congratulated his bravery, and said that the college “has created of brand of exclusion and is seen as a force of institutional oppression despite their good standing as a reputable college.” However, they added that they’ve never doubted “the community and faculty's readiness and willingness to accept LGBTQ+ people on campus.”
WIth Arthur’s performance going viral, they hope GFU leadership will “take the next step...If Reid's performance proved anything, the people are ready. I compel the leadership of George Fox University to move on this issue and affirm students of all sexual orientations into the life of the campus.”
Arthur isn’t the first queer student to publicly come out at a religious school. In April, Brigham Young University valedictorian Matty Easton used his graduation speech as a platform to share his identity with his Mormon college. “I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” he said. “I am not broken. I am loved and important in the plan of our great creator. Each of us are.”