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Tegan and Sara on Life After Orlando Shooting: 'The World Is Still a Very Complicated & Difficult Place for LGBT People'

Tegan and Sara at the 2016 iHeartRADIO MuchMusic Video Awards
Courtesy of Bell Media

Tegan and Sara at the 2016 iHeartRADIO MuchMusic Video Awards at MuchMusic HQ on June 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

A recent episode on the fight against AIDS from CNN's original series The Eighties highlights the impact thousands of gay activists had in speeding up the FDA’s approval of drugs, lowering the pharmaceutical company’s astronomical drug costs, and increasing funding for AIDS research. After the Orlando massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub on June 12, will it be the LGBTQ community that rallies together and finally does something about gun control?

Sara Quin of indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara thinks so. “The LGBT community is going to spearhead some serious, serious, sh--,” she told Billboard on the red carpet at the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards this week in Toronto. Both she and identical twin sister Tegan are both openly gay.

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The pair recently released a new album, their eighth, called Love You to Death and just kicked off a worldwide tour June 22. All this traveling the past 17 years while performing music has given her a wider perspective on human rights.

“Not to take away how amazing the Supreme Court ruling was for same-sex marriage in the United States [in June 2015], but one of the things Tegan and I talk about a lot is internationally,” said Sara, who was born in Calgary but now lives in Los Angeles.

“We spend a lot of time in countries where we’re not just talking about marriage; we’re talking about health care; we’re talking about security; we’re talking about adoption rights, hospital rights; these things, they need to be legislated. They have to be protected by the government. And this just shows that there are still so many things that can be done to protect people -- not just gay people, but people.”

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Backstage in the MMVA pressroom, one reporter asked Tegan and Sara what they think is one of the biggest hurdles the LGBT community has to overcome; Tegan answered at length.

“The past weekend is a prime example of a hurdle we have to overcome. I think that ultimately, every step that the LGBT community takes forward, there are about 10 steps back. And it’s not exclusive to our minority group. Ultimately, there’s just racism and homophobia and sexism and a million other things that are holding a lot of people back.

“I’d like to say that after 17 years of traveling the world, the world is changing -- and I think it is -- but ultimately there’s still a lot of ignorance and hate in the world, and this past week was a tough one for us. It was a really big loss for our community and it was really sad to see this happen at a time when so much change is happening.

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“We just released a record and a lot of people are asking us, ‘What are you going to focus on now? Gay marriage -- everyone’s equal in America. What are you going to focus on now?’ and we were like, that’s so strange, because they legislated some change, sure, but the world is still a very complicated and difficult place for LGBT people.

“We have a huge civil-rights movement happening right now with transgender people in America and I think the worst thing that could happen to our community is we could become apathetic and we could think that everything has changed -- everything has not changed. We are still a minority group and a lot of people still hate us, and that was proven last weekend.

“But this is an exciting time too. It means we can band together and we have a really good chance of legislating change and we need to change the laws in America and I think we need to remember that we’re on this planet for a short time. We should love each other.”


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