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Tegan and Sara establish foundation for LGBTQ and women’s rights

on December 19, 2016, 11:00am

Photo by Philip Cosores

Tegan and Sara have long been advocates for women and the LGBTQ community. In 2012, the sisters, who are both openly gay, appeared on the cover of Under the Radar’s “Protest” issue while holding up a sign that read: “The rights of the minority should never be subject to the whim of the majority.” Most recently, they released a music video for Love You to Death track “Faint of Heart” comprised exclusively of young people who identify as LGBTQ.

Now, the Quins are taking their activism another step further by launching their own foundation dedicated to fighting for “economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women,” according to a lengthy letter on the duo’s website. “LGBTQ women are experiencing disproportionately high levels of poverty, health issues and inequality,” they write. “LGBTQ women of color, especially transgender women often experience these issues even more severely due to racism and transphobia.”

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The message continues: “Today, given the state of politics in the United States, we must continue to unite and fight for our rights and against all forms of oppression. Through the Tegan and Sara Foundation, we can be proactive with our support rather than wait to react to discrimination as it occurs. We will support the work of other organizations who have been fighting for LGBTQ and women’s rights by raising funds and awareness for their initiatives. We will fight against the repressive legislation of the incoming Trump administration.”

Below, read Tegan and Sara’s full letter, followed by the “Faint of Heart” video.

“Since the beginning of our career, our LGBTQ  fans have supported us in innumerable ways. Our journey navigating sexism and homophobia in the music industry has always been interwoven with the stories you share with us. Your personal histories of injustice and discrimination at home, school, work, and church have inspired us to use our public status to speak out about the struggles of the LGBTQ community.

Our fans not only support us, but each other as well. We see hope and strength in our community, whether through every day acts of kindness or through the power of mobilizing behind a common cause. Therefore, it is with deep gratitude and pride that we commit ourselves further to the fight for justice, equality and progress.

Over these last months, we have been working on a new project, the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Our mission is to fight for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.

In the fall of 2016 we traveled across North America touring our new record, Love You to Death. We played shows every night, but it was also an important listening and learning tour for us. Every day we read your letters. We met with local fans, youth activists, researchers, legislators, and nonprofits working tirelessly to promote LGBTQ equality. We were deeply inspired by their work. The list would be too long if we mentioned everyone who generously spent time with us, but a special thank you to GLAAD, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, the LA LGBT Center, Equality North Carolina, the Audre Lorde Project, the Astraea Foundation, and the Williams Institute. We learned a great deal from you all, including much more about the needs of LGBTQ people in North America. We learned that the lack of federal funding for LGBTQ services, limited training for doctors about the needs of their LGBTQ patients, and severe workplace discrimination are disproportionately affecting women. Most importantly, we learned that LGBTQ women and girls are feeling overwhelmingly rejected and left behind.

LGBTQ women are experiencing disproportionately high levels of poverty, health issues and inequality. LGBTQ women of color, especially  transgender women often experience these issues even more severely due to racism and transphobia. Today, given the state of politics in the United States, we must continue to unite and fight for our rights and against all forms of oppression.

Through the Tegan and Sara Foundation, we can be proactive with our support rather than wait to react to discrimination as it occurs. We will support the work of other organizations who have been fighting for LGBTQ and women’s rights by raising funds and awareness for their initiatives. We will fight against the repressive legislation of the incoming Trump administration. We will fight against regressive homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic legislation. We will fight for economic, racial and gender justice. We started the Foundation to dismantle the systems of inequity that prevent LGBTQ girls and women from reaching their full potential. Together, we can make a difference.

Join us.”