Empowering LGBTQ+ Communities: The Tegan and Sara Foundation's Impact - The JUNO Awards

Since their debut in 1999, twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin have carved out an impressive career in the music industry. The pop-rock duo has sold over one million records, earning seven Gold certifications, a Double Platinum certification, multiple JUNO Awards, two Polaris Prize nominations, and a Grammy nod. However, their most significant achievement is not one of their many music accolades—it is their dedicated activism through The Tegan and Sara Foundation.

From day one of their careers, Tegan and Sara have proudly embraced their queer identities, using their music and public personas to expand representation for queer people in music and champion LGBTQ+ equality and gender justice. In 2016, they amplified their advocacy efforts by launching The Tegan and Sara Foundation, an organization committed to the health, economic justice, and representation of LGBTQ+ girls and women.

“As queer women, we have witnessed a sea of change around LGBTQ+ rights in our lifetime, but the fight to ensure equality, justice, and representation for the LGBTQ+ community continues,” Tegan and Sara shared with The JUNOS. “We take great pride in the fact that our success in Tegan and Sara has given us the chance to establish The Tegan and Sara Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in the LGBTQ+ community, but there is still so much to do.” 

The Tegan and Sara Foundation fights for LGBTQ+ equality and justice through its diverse flagship programs and support of grassroots organizations, activists, and communities often overlooked by major funding institutions. Since its inception, the Foundation has impacted tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ community members, providing grants to 100 different organizations across nearly 50 states and provinces in North America.

As queer women, we have witnessed a sea of change around LGBTQ+ rights in our lifetime, but the fight to ensure equality, justice, and representation for the LGBTQ+ community continues.

Tegan and Sara

In recognition of their extraordinary impact on the LGTBQ+ community and beyond Tegan and Sara were honoured at the 2024 JUNO Awards this past March with the esteemed Humanitarian Award​​. The Humanitarian Award celebrates outstanding Canadian artists or industry leaders whose humanitarian contributions have positively enhanced the social culture of Canada and whose impact is felt worldwide.

Academy Award-nominated actor and Tegan and Sara Foundation board member Elliot Page was there to honour them at the Broadcast, highlighting the Foundation’s impact: “We are at a time in history where the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ people are being restricted, revoked, and eliminated throughout the world, the effects of which are devastating,” he said. “Tegan and Sara have proven time and time again, their commitment to ensuring that the lives of queer youth are happy, healthy, and most importantly, long,” he added.

Elliot Page at The JUNO Awards Broadcast at Scotiabank Centre, Halifax, NS. March 24, 2024. PHOTO CREDIT: CARAS/Ryan Bolton.

During their acceptance speech Tegan and Sara were met with a standing ovation when they used the moment to condemn their home province of Alberta’s proposed legislation limiting gender-affirming care for young people, “If the world were not so hostile to 2SLGBTQ+ people, we would see ourselves purely as musicians,” said Sara Quin. “These attacks are harmful because they are directed at the kids who need our support the most,” she continued.

Shortly after their recognition in Halifax, the duo released an open letter condemning anti-trans legislation across Canada. This letter was signed by over 400 artists from across the country, including notable names such as Neil Young, k.d. lang, Alanis Morissette, Carly Rae Jepsen, Diana Krall, and more.

When asked where they see the future of the Foundation and how people can support their mission Sara Quin shared, “Right now a tremendous amount of funding comes from our fans. It comes from our donations from our tours and directly from our fanbase through fundraising. We’d love to see the Foundation supported by all different types of people and organizations so it can continue to do great work well into the future. 

To learn how you can support the Tegan and Sara Foundation visit their website at www.teganandsarafoundation.org

Feature image: Tegan and Sara at The JUNO Awards at Scotiabank Centre, Halifax, NS, March 24, 2024 PHOTO CREDIT: CARAS/James Bennett.