Pride is a time to come together and celebrate the variety, vitality, and beauty of our community. It’s also a time to pay homage to our history. So much has changed and improved for LGBTQ people, but it’s also important to remember the fight. Many LGBTQ people still feel like outsiders in their day-today lives.
When we started playing music in 1997, we were not under a lot of pressure to keep our sexuality a secret. Our music was pretty alternative and we spent the first five or six years fairly underground. We got to live as out artists and build a community around us who knew who we were entirely–which was wonderful.
We definitely experienced regular run-ins with homophobia, sexism, and misogyny from the press, promoters, other bands, and the general public. We were lucky to have a great support system, great friends, each other, and an unusually high sense of purpose and self confidence to power through.
The reality, however, is that over the last 17 years, the list of homophobic injustices, remarks, sad stories, and embarrassing moments that we’ve experienced is long and continues to grow. By continuing to fight them, we hope we’ve made things better, even in a small way.
Before taking a tour of the Los Angeles LGBT Center last year, we had no idea how many different areas it touches. It’s really impressive. The headquarters building itself was just so big and so beautiful and the staff was so helpful and knowledgeable. We were truly moved (and surprised) at how expansive and broad the programs are, but we were particularly wowed by the Transitional Living Program for youth who are experiencing homelessness, and by the services for seniors.
At the Center’s medical clinic, we were shocked to learn about the insufficient training medical students receive regarding LGBTQ health. We’ve heard story after story about LGBTQ people who struggle to advocate for themselves in a medical setting and don’t know what type of questions to ask their doctor. Even today, too many people avoid going to a doctor simply because they don’t want to out themselves. At the Center, no one ever has to worry about that.
We will continue to focus our energy on funding organizations that are making the world a better place for LGBTQ people and to support programs that address the unique issues experienced by women and girls in the LGBTQ community. It would be incredible if the leading edge, LGBTQ specialty care offered by the Center was available to people throughout the country. Sadly this isn’t the case (yet), but we are fighting to make it a reality.
The Center is a wonderful example of how community still exists in the LGBTQ world. The spectrum of programs is invaluable to people of all ages and provides an incredible foundation for our community. By supporting the Center personally, and through the Tegan and Sara Foundation, we’re stepping up our efforts to raise more and do more for LGBTQ women and girls who have supported us for nearly 20 years.
Learn more about the duo’s foundation at teganandsarafoundation.org