Continuing in their fight for justice, equality and progress for LGBTQ women, indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara brought more than 50 LGBTQ women together in Hollywood on Wednesday to launch a coordinated fight for equality in economic status, health and representation.
The first of its kind, the convening was a natural next step for the recently launched Tegan and Sara Foundation that was established last fall following a nationwide “listening and learning tour” in which they met with LGBTQ youth, researchers, legislators and nonprofits at the forefront of the LGBTQ community. Tegan and Sara were shocked and saddened to learn that “LGBTQ women and girls were feeling overwhelmingly rejected and left behind.”
At the convening, the Foundation directly addressed the issue in an unprecedented way by uniting as a powerful voice for change in an effort to fight back against the continued inequality that prevents LGBTQ girls and women from reaching their full potential.
The day kicked off with a video featuring Haley Videckis and Layana White, former Pepperdine University students who met and fell in love while playing on the women’s basketball team and were subsequently harassed about their sexual orientation and relationship. Haley and Layana are currently suing the school and their former coach for violating their rights to privacy and their rights under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Haley and Layana thanked the Tegan and Sara Foundation for the supportive community that they’ve built and acknowledged that they wouldn’t have made it through the tough times without the support of strong LGBTQ women.
Tegan and Sara then opened with an emotional keynote, addressing the personal challenges they experienced as LGBTQ women coming out as gay stating, “coming out at the age of 18 wasn’t painless, it was 1998 after all but what was made clear by our entire family was that we deserved the same love, the saw laws, and the same respect as if we had been born heterosexual.”
The day continued with presentations from the Center for American Progress and the Williams Institute about the current economic justice and health status of LGBTQ women, an address from Governor Kate Brown, the first LGBTQ governor, about opportunities to get more LGBTQ women engaged in politics to ensure fair legislation is passed, and discussions about properly including LGBTQ women of color and trans women in the fight for equality, led by artist and activists Vivek Shraya, Nina Chaubal and Greta Gustava, co-founders of TransLife. Despite being married to Greta, Nina was recently detained by immigration control officers – a terrifying experience because trans and LGB people are 15 times more likely to experience physical and sexual violence within ICE facilities.
The day concluded with breakout groups where attendees generated action plans for 2017 aimed at combating inequalities in health, representation and the workplace and each shared personal commitments to support the issues.
Actress and Her Story producer, Jen Richards, summed up the day by saying “I’ve never been more strongly reminded of the capacity of smart, caring, engaged people to make a positive impact in the world than today. Tegan and Sara are so remarkably well-informed and sincerely motivated that we all felt seen, heard, and valued. This is the beginning of something special, and I’m excited for all that’s next.”
To learn more about the Foundation visit: TeganandSaraFoundation.org.
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