To our beloved gaylor community…
GayloreFest was created out of a desire and dream by LGBTQ people to connect over the oft-hidden patterns, themes, iconography, and references to queerness we find in popular culture, art, literature, and media. While the queer themes found in Taylor Swift’s work undoubtedly brought us together, we have always been an openly Queer organization whose goals and priorities expand far outside the scope of Taylor Swift™.
While many of us began our work deconstructing her art and/or brand in particular, for the majority of us her work has merely been one piece of a much larger puzzle–a singular attraction on an expansive map, one point on the eternal timeline of queerness, a language to learn and speak to each other. As Taylor warned us on the buried 3am Edition closer of Midnights, Dear Reader, she is an impossibly bright light that, while illuminating, was never meant to guide us. The team behind GayloreFest and Gaylore.org were able to find each other in no small part because of Taylor’s influence and impact: she shines so bright. But when it comes to moving forward, to building community, to empowering each other and queer people as a whole we are each other’s guiding lights.
While we have never had a solid grasp on the fabric of Taylor’s life, we can (and do) make real impacts in each other’s lives through tangible connection. And while we may have started out as such, we are so much more than Taylor fans and so much more than gaylors. We provide space and infrastructure for queer events, we host events, we write music, we make art, we discuss, we speculate, we read star charts, we read tarot, we read queer biographies, critical theory, and smut. We watch concerts, music videos, and films. We are writers, artists, poets, journalists, lawyers, herbalists, street medics, baristas, dreamers, slackers, stoners, podcasters, whiners, gender non-conforming, lesbians, bisexuals, gay, trans, and queer, queer, unapologetically queer.
GayloreFest 2023 is coming at a time when many of us have no desire to engage with Taylor’s art or presence, or have a dramatically decreased desire than we might once have had. This is something that the planning team is feeling and have heard so many conferees and potential-conferees express as well. We have always prioritized emergent organizing and as such the last few weeks have had a significant impact on the kinds of presentations and festivities we have in store. Our conference has never been exclusive to Taylor theories, and in being able to have an in-person space for the first time, we are even more devoted to creating a space that feels joyous, playful, and safe, especially for those most marginalized within our already marginalized community.
Presentation topics this year are even more varied than last year, and focus on the beacon of light that is queer community, as opposed to any one individual–no matter how bright she may shine. We’ve been working to bring this virtual conference and in-person “camp” to fruition for the last year and are so excited for our fellow queers to join us.
With love & gratitude,
The GayloreFest Planning Team