The Queer Headliners panel at Thursday’s (Aug. 8) inaugural Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit had some of the biggest LGBTQ artists today discussing representation in music, uplifting their queer peers and spreading love through their platforms.
During the panel, Tegan and Sara discussed how far LGBTQ representation has come as a duo who has been part of the community for more than 25 years.
“We were so lonely for so much of the early part of our career,” Tegan explained. “There was so little community wise because it was before social media. For me, there’s this moment where there’s passion and love and everyone is trying to embrace culture. It’s very exciting for me.”
“Everyday our social feed is filled with beautiful LGBTQ artists and I hope they become huge and successful so we can retire,” she continued.
However, they noted that there’s a lot more to be done. “Sometimes it’s like, ‘You don’t belong all the time, but you belong in June, Pride Month,’ but I think that’s one thing that as an industry and as a culture we need to be doing,” Tegan continued. “We need to celebrate LGBTQ people but not in their own room where people can go and find them if they want to.”
As for what LGBTQ artists can do to change that, Tegan referred to their song “Boyfriend,” which flips gender roles. “We bring it up in every meeting, we talk about it in the press, we talk about it onstage. We don’t have the answers to fix it but we want to disrupt and rebuild the system. We as an industry are trying to rebuild the systemic problems but, for us, it’s constantly bringing it up and making people uncomfortable. Sometimes we’ll be in a meeting and Sara will just throw something super uncomfortable into the situation and that’s how you do it.”
“We need to get the change over the hump,” she concluded. “We forget that because we put rainbows everywhere and think we’re done.”