9

LGBTQ Asian American Fashion

A series that presents the personal styles of local LGBTQ Asian Americans in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. This project is to illustrate the importance of self-determination that queer and trans Asian Americans have over their bodies and aesthetics.

Photography credits: Khin Oo

My Taylor Swift Story

@taylorswift  @taylornation

This is about to be a long read I am so sorry, but I have a lot to say haha. In honor of seeing Taylor again for the fifth time in a month on September 1st, I wanted to share my Taylor Swift story. I am also sorry about the lack of pictures of me at the concerts or holding my signs I have always disliked getting my picture taken, but I still have all my concert posters. I also don’t know why some of these pictures are so blurry haha. Anyway, My name’s Taylor and I am from Minnesota and I have been a huge fan of Taylor Swift for the past 12 years. When I was 7 years old in November 2006, I got Taylor Swift’s first CD. I had no idea how much getting that CD would truly change my life. I think my favorite songs at the time were A Place In This World, Mary’s Song, and Our Song. I was absolutely obsessed with the album and would listen to it almost every day. I wanted to be a singer at this age and Taylor’s music really inspired me. I became even a bigger fan of Taylor Swift when I bought Fearless in 2008. The album Fearless means so much to me. The album inspired me to start writing my own songs and join choir. Shortly after Fearless came out when I was In 4th grade, I had a school assignment to write a book about who we thought the most inspirational person was to us and why. Also, keep in mind it was 4th grade, so almost everyone in the class wrote about their parents or a teacher and I was the one kid who got up and read my book about Taylor Swift to the class. I wrote about how her music inspired me to make my own and how she made me feel like I was her friend when I listened to her music which was a feeling I had never experienced. Then I started incorporating Taylor Swift into most of the things I did. For a project for an after-school group I was apart of, we had to make our own wooden cars and I made mine Taylor Swift-themed (pictures below). 

Then on May 6th, 2010 my mom surprised me and told me she got Taylor Swift tickets and we were going to her concert the next day. I cried I was so happy I was going to see my favorite singer live. I made a poster for the concert that night haha that’s why the poster was terrible because an 11-year-old made it in one night (you will really see the sign/poster glow up throughout the years of the concerts lol). May 7th, 2010 I will always remember as one of the best days of my life. I went to the concert with my mom. I had never seen such a theatrical performance and amazing stage production. Taylor Swift vocals and guitar skills were incredible, but it was more than that she put on such an amazing show. My 11-year-old self was shaken by Taylor Swift ripping off her You Belong With Me Outfit to reveal a sparkly dress, throwing the couch off the stage in Forever & Always, and I was most shaken by her walking through the crowd to hug people and sing. I cried at the concert when she walked out into the crowd and revealed her Vikings jersey in Today Was A Fairytale. This concert made me think I wanted to have a career in music and made me feel like I could. One of the things that I love most about Taylor Swift is that she has always felt like a regular person to me. She has always seemed so down to earth and genuine.

I pre-ordered every single Taylor Swift album since Fearless on her website after seeing her live one time. Seeing her live for the first time made me an even bigger fan. Shortly after seeing Taylor Swift live in May, I started taking voice lessons and wrote more songs and attempted to learn guitar and piano. I also watched as many documentaries and interviews of Taylor I could find. Taylor Swift really inspired me to never give up on my dreams. I even got a Taylor Swift birthday cake that year for my birthday.

In 2010 and 2011, I started getting bullied pretty badly for liking music and arts and things that were different. People also bullied me for “being gay” even though I never came out at that age. I was even bullied for liking Taylor Swift so much. I did not have very many friends for a lot of my life and Taylor Swift’s music has been one of the most consistent things for me in my life throughout the past 12 years. I know this is cliche, but Taylor Swift’s music made me feel like I was her friend when I didn’t have any friends at school. I felt like I had someone that could relate to me even though I never met them and she made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Another thing that happened around this time was one of my favorite people (my grandma) died and I also turned so much to Taylor Swift’s music at this time. I will forever be so grateful to Taylor for this. She really made me believe that so many things would get better and eventually they did. On June 14th, 2011 I saw Taylor Swift again for the second time on the Speak Now tour with my mom and it was just as magical as the first time I saw her live. I painted a glow in the dark “T.S.” on my face and a “13″ on my hand obviously and I spent 30 hours making a sign for the concert haha I am very slow at crafts. I remember crying so hard during the speech Taylor gave before Mean because I related to it so much.

Taylor Swift inspired me to keep pursuing what I love despite being bullied. I kept singing and taking voice lessons and my choir teacher suggested that I start doing musicals and theatre too. I tried out for the school musical in middle school in 2012 and got in and loved it. I was still being bullied throughout this, but at least doing something that made me happy and going home and listening to Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, and now Red made me feel less alone. I saw Taylor for the third time on the Red Tour with my mom on September 8th, 2013. We dressed as the Wonderstruck and Wonderstruck Enchanted perfume bottles and I made a sign that said “Red Sheeran” that had lights on it and when Ed Sheeran (her opening act at the time) played I had the sign light up and say “Ed Sheeran”  and then when Taylor played I turned on just the lights that said “Red.” This concert was slightly different than the other ones because throughout the years my love for Taylor had only grown and I wanted to go to the venue really early to wait outside, so we got outside the venue at around 12pm even though the concert did not start until a lot later. However, I am so glad that I got there early because I had the opportunity to meet Ed Sheeran because a radio station was giving out meet and greets. I met someone who also loved Taylor Swift and came with her mom and had a similar story to me outside the concert. It was so nice meeting someone who shared and understood my love for Taylor. Then once I got into the concert right after Ed Sheeran played, I saw Andrea (Taylor’s mom) walking onto the floor part of the venue and a group of people sort of surrounded her. I brought the book I wrote in school about Taylor Swift being the most inspirational person to me and Andrea saw it and took it and gave me a hug and said she would give it to Taylor. I do not even know what I said or if I said anything I was so shocked that Taylor Swift’s mom gave me a hug and took the book. I know I did not give her any context to the book or tell her I wrote it in 4th grade, so she was probably confused but that’s okay haha. I did not meet Taylor, but I did get to meet Ed and Andrea which was amazing and so much more than I could ever ask for. I had a blast during the whole concert and cried when Taylor played Lucky One and the little video played beforehand. This night was another one of the best and most memorable nights of my life.

Shortly after the Red concert in September, I switched schools and decided to go to a performing arts high school to study theatre. I realized theatre was a better fit for me than music and it still combined so many of the elements of music that I loved and enjoyed. I really believe that Taylor gave me the courage to do this. I think I would have given up on my dreams long before this if it wasn’t for her. She made me feel like I could get what I wanted in life because she did despite everything that she had to go through. She made me feel like she was there for me even though we didn’t know each other personally. She has helped me so much and inspired me to keep striving for my dreams. I think I have listened to at least one Taylor Swift song almost every day of my life since 2006. I have grown up so much throughout the years with Taylor Swift’s music. She is probably the only person besides family that has been in my life for the past 12 years. Going to a performing arts high school was such a great decision. It was one of the first times in my life I felt acceptance and like I wasn’t bullied for liking music and theatre and things that were different. It also made me feel enough acceptance to come out as pansexual. I never think I would have had the motivation to keep pursuing these things and feel accepted if it wasn’t for the impact Taylor has had on me. Then on September 11th 2015, I saw Taylor Swift live for the 4th time with my mom and it was such a wonderful night.I made a light up 1989 poster with lyrics and my mom and I dressed as the perfume bottles again at the 1989 concert. At this concert, I balled during Clean and one of my mesmerizing moments was when Taylor Swift had the light up umbrellas during How You Get The Girl.

Fast forward to 2018. I am more myself than I have ever been. Being an environment where I felt comfortable and accepted has been so wonderful. I am now going into my second year of college where I will be double majoring in theatre and film and pursuing a career as a theatre director. I am transferring schools and moving to the West Coast at the end of September. Taylor Swift helped me discover my passion for theatre through music and helped me find the courage to pursue all of my dreams and come out. She also made me fall in love with stage production and performing at a very young age through watching her perform on the Fearless tour and every tour after. Taylor Swift’s music has been there for me throughout pretty much every traumatic moment and all of the best moments of my life. After nearly every significant death in my family, coming out, after every heartbreak, after every broken friendship, Taylor Swift’s music has helped me through it. Her music was there throughout my best moments too when I was in my first real show, when I graduated high school, and when I moved away. It is a bonding experience my mom and I have shared since 2006 listening to Taylor’s music together and seeing her concerts. Thank you so much, Taylor, for inspiring me so much throughout the years. It has been almost 10 years since my first Taylor show which is so crazy. I hope I can save up enough money to also buy tickets to the August 31 show in Minnesota or upgrade my seats, but as of now I have tickets to the September 1st show on the Reputation Tour in Minnesota and I am going with my mom. I am so excited to see Taylor live again. On the September 1st Reputation Tour in Minnesota, I have seats in Section 114, Row 24, Seats 8 & 9.

#reptourminneapolis

Hey Tay!

Your music has always made me feel some sort of way. At times, it’s made me feel like whatever situation that was going on wasn’t real. It’s made me forget. It’s allowed me to escape reality for a bit, even if it was just for the short amount of time of roughly three or four minutes. It’s also made me feel. Like ACTUALLY feel. It’s made me feel like what I was going through, was normal, that I wasn’t alone. Your stories, even though they are different than mine, have helped me get through some of the most difficult times of my own life and I appreciate that greatly. I will forever cherish some of your songs and the things they’ve done for me. Your music has been apart of some of my favorite memories with my family/close friends and am thankful for that. You’ve impacted me greatly through your music and the things you say and do as a public figure. So today I thank you for letting the world [and I] in on such personal experiences and feelings expressed through music. I am beyond excited to see you next month!!! I love you SO much!!

Minneapolis Sept. 1st

Section: Upper Level 320, Row 19, Seats 6-8

@taylorswift @taylornation

2

August 1 2018 - A woman antagonises demonstrators and tries to tear up a poster calling for Justice for Thurman Blevins, and gets punched in the face. She goes to the cops literally crying “I didn’t do anything!”. 

Hundreds of protesters were marching in downtown Minneapolis calling for justice after the body camera footage was released of the police murder of Thurman Blevins. [video]