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True North Living » Wellness » Pride and Empowerment » Q&A with Tegan & Sara
Pride and Empowerment

Q&A with Tegan & Sara

Inclusive music icons share insights, experiences, and inspiration: A conversation on empowerment and LGBTQ2S+ pride

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As advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, what role do you believe music plays in promoting empowerment and inclusivity for the queer community?

I think seeing yourself represented goes a long way.  Being out, speaking about our lives, and our sexuality on stage, and writing and presenting our lives as queer women, seems to have made a big impact on a lot of queer people over the years.  I think music is about connection and community for a lot of us.  And for fans of music, especially queer music, I think it provides a lot: representation, community, solidarity, and comfort.  And I think we’ve always felt that we – we being artists – help to push the national and international conversation about things like queerness forward by being open.  There is power in numbers, and so even when a heterosexual artist speaks out as an ally, or takes a queer or trans band on the road with them, these gestures signal to a wider population that being LGBTQ is normal and acceptable.  Be it big gestures or small gestures, music can have a major influence on the world. 

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Could you share a personal anecdote or moment in your career that exemplifies the power of music to inspire and empower individuals within the LGBTQ+ community?

I think we saw firsthand with the release of our pop album Heartthrob how being out and accepted in the mainstream affected a young generation of left-of-center people who wanted to see themselves on tv, on the radio and on bigger stages.  They would come to our shows and tell us how we were the first queer people they had found or listened to and you could see that it brought them relief to see us being accepted, loved, and celebrated.  We were and still are proud of our indie identity.  We are very DIY and like indie rock, but we didn’t want to be invisible.  It really empowered us to queer the mainstream and to be a part of a wave that started long before us to spill over into more spaces.  And we saw the effects directly in the years that followed. More queer artists on the radio, on playlists and in the media, and more LGBTQ+ artists openly saying they and their music were for everyone and should be everywhere. 

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In what ways do you hope your music resonates with listeners, particularly those who may be struggling with their identity?

I think we both really believe it’s normal and common to struggle in life. At any age.  No matter who you are or how you identify.  Being human is complicated. But music is a salve.  We just hope our music helps, inspires, creates community and comfort and makes people feel like they have company through the good and the bad.  I don’t know that we write with the intention of anything more than creating music that makes us feel that way.  But our hope in recording, releasing, promoting and touring our art is to make others feel the way it makes us feel. Which is hopefully…better? Happier? More seen and connected?

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As artists who have been active for many years, how have you witnessed the evolution of LGBTQ+ representation and empowerment within the music industry, and what positive changes do you foresee in the future?

I think the younger generation seems more open, less obsessed with the binary, and ultimately more accepting of LGBTQ+ people. Which is a wonderful thing. How that will influence the future and culture on a big scale, I can’t say.  But I think the small things that are changing – more LGBTQ+ artists thriving in music – is a sign that there is a shift and a hunger for more art from LGBTQ+ people.  I think a lot of the scared, ignorant, close-minded bigots in politics will eventually be voted out, die, be replaced and we’ll see more and more protections, love, and acceptance culturally in the decades to come. At least I hope so.  In our lifetime we’ve seen so much change, so I have to believe there is still so much more to come. 

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