Taylor Swift’s latest music video for her dreamy hit “Lavender Haze” has been praised by fans around the world for its elevation of LGBTQ+ representation, starring trans model, activist, and singer Laith Ashley as the pop singer’s love interest. The video, which was self-directed by the 11-time Grammy-winning singer, features Ashley lying asleep next to Swift in bed, and the two sharing intimate moments at a house party.
Ashley, who called the role a “dream,” said that having a trans person simply depicted as being in love on screen is a huge step forward for representation. “We deserve to exist. We deserve to take up space in society,” he told BuzzFeed News. “We will always exist regardless of anti-trans propaganda.”
The trans singer also noted the importance of the video in terms of trans visibility, especially with Swift’s expansive fan base across the globe. “Even on Instagram, I’ve gotten thousands of messages from young trans people and trans people of all ages saying how important and how huge it is that someone with the platform that Taylor Swift has, especially in the times that we’re in now, used a trans man as her love interest,” he said in an interview with Elle.
Ashley also praised the video as a “celebration of diversity, of acceptance, of liberty and freedom,” and called for more representation like this in media. Swift, for her part, gushed about the music video and her “incredible” co-star in a social media post, writing that the video “really helped me conceptualize the world and mood of Midnights.”
The “Lavender Haze” music video represents a powerful moment for trans representation in the entertainment industry, and Laith Ashley’s role as Taylor Swift’s love interest marks a significant step forward in the ongoing fight for visibility and acceptance for the trans community.