Taylor Swift has spoken publicly for the first time about her political leanings and has endorsed two Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections in the US.
The Shake It Off star has tended to keep her opinions on political matters to herself throughout her career. During the 2016 election in the US she drew criticism for not declaring support for a specific presidential candidate, although she did encourage her fans to get out and vote.
The 28-year-old has taken to Instagram to say she that although she was "reluctant" to make her political views known in the past, due to "several events in my life and in the world" in the past two years, she is ready to voice them now.
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She wrote: "I always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve."
"In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.
"I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.
"I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG.
"I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent."
She went on to endorse Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen for the Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives, as she prepares to vote in Tennessee in the midterm elections on November 6.
Swift said she will not vote for Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, despite her desire to see women in office.
"I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin colour, gender or who they love," she said.
"Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn.
"Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women.
"She voted against the reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape.
"She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values."
Swift asked her 112 million Instagram followers to "educate" themselves on the candidates in their states and choose the one who "who most closely represents your values".
She added: "For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway.
"So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count."
Phil Bredesen thanked Swift for her endorsement in a tweet, writing: "Thank you for the kind words @taylorswift13. I'm honoured to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done. We're ready for it."
Thank you for the kind words @taylorswift13. I’m honored to have your support and that of so many Tennesseans who are ready to put aside the partisan shouting and get things done. We’re ready for it. Last day to register to vote is October 9. https://t.co/6Xd6YyaJCG pic.twitter.com/CatUBkXPKe— Phil Bredesen (@PhilBredesen) October 8, 2018