Tegan and Sara Created Their Own LGBTQ Foundation In Response To This Garbage Fire Year

feature image via Tegan and Sara.

We all know them as queer pop idols, the candy center of our current hella gay music choices, but they’re not stopping there. Today Tegan and Sara announced that they’ve founded the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Their mission: fight for economic justice, health and representation for LGBTQ girls and women. According to their about page, they’re a fundraising organization that aims to raise funds and awareness and then give to other organizations already doing the work.

In their letter about their new foundation, Tegan and Sara write:

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.

You can read the letter in full here. I love it when my favorite artists stand up to a white nationalist administration and actually call it out by name! I love it when members of our community band together in response to this no good very bad year, which, we are all now coming to realize, is only the beginning of a new shitty era. It’s so easy for people creating entertainment to stick their heads in the sand and say, “We exist so you don’t have to think about all the bullshit that’s going on!” It’s harder and, I would argue, better when our entertainers engage with the reality around them. That’s what they’re making art about, after all. And where their fans live. And where they live too. Four for you, Tegan and Sara.

I’ll keep an eye on the Tegan and Sara Foundation as they move forward in funding the resistance.

Staff Writer for Autostraddle, Part-time Faculty at The New School (teaching digital storytelling), Managing Editor for Scholar & Feminist Online at Barnard Center for Research On Women. Follow me on Twitter @AEOsworth or on Instagram, also @AEOsworth.

A.E. has written 544 articles for us.

8 Comments

  1. Tegan and Sara are my faves and are one of the only white bands I trust to actually do the right thing re: intersectionality but I think I’ll hold off on donating until I know exactly what they’re going to use the money for… I’m a little surprised that they didn’t talk about that in the letter (unless they are waiting for see what garbage fire legislation shows up and throw the money toward defeating that? Because I’d be down for that)

  2. This is extremely heartening! Gonna have a T&S dance party soon, I think (even if it’s just me and my wife). I’m always grateful for people who use their spotlight to benefit others.

    I’m also curious about what orgs they will be donating to and working with. Perhaps they’re still developing that part, but it’s worth keeping an eye on – I hope they’re good about transparency. Still, the details they already provided give me hope that they’re on the right track!

  3. This is very, very good to see. We know organisations vital to our well-being, like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Trans Lifeline, have seen a recent surge in donations – but it’s going to take a lot more, sustained over the next four years, to ensure they’re equipped financially to take on what I imagine will be their most trying times ever. T&S’ new foundation is just the kind of assistance they’ll need, for all our sakes.

  4. As described above, it’s heartening to know that, despite a result like Trump, citizens who worry what an administration like his would entail for their rights, are being prepared to inteligently counter it in some productive/proactive way. Just because a party comes in under a vote, doesn’t mean those that didn’t endorse him throught their own personal vote have to be quiet and take what they don’t feel is potentially unfair to them. The irony of Brexit and Trump may be that, since the results, more people that were nonchalant about politics (becuse they didn’t think it affected them) may be stirred now to being more engaged/active from now on. Yes I know there was still a percentage of people that didn’t vote in either the U.K. or U.S.A. but I think maybe these results may even help awaken some of them. Tegan & Sara are using their noterity positively. They seem sincere, and with any types of Foundations (for whatever causes) you have to feel that the person(s) heading it up are completely genuine in motivation and always transparent in their processes and end result.

  5. Question because I don’t know much about this kind of thing–is there any advantage to donating to a foundation like this rather than directly to organizations doing the work?

    (Also, echoing everyone else that I love T&S, am glad they’re doing this, and hope they’re very transparent about it!)

    • Thanks for raising this question! My professional background is in nonprofit fundraising and development, and when I first saw this article I wondered what the Tegan and Sara Foundation plans to do to add value to the work of the organizations it will support. I imagine that part of their intention is to make their fan base (and others) aware of organizations doing quality work and make it as easy as possible for people to contribute, especially financially. For example, if a promotional email introduces someone to the Audre Lorde Project and makes it easy/enticing for the person to donate money, then the T&S Foundation has created some additional value. The same email wouldn’t have the same potential added value if I received it because I already know about the Audre Lorde Project and support them. So rather than a yes/no answer, it depends on how things are promoted and processed with different audiences.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.