Tegan and Sara Team Up With Instagram
The singer-songwriters have released guides to help with mental health and other topics surrounding coming out, fresh on heels of National Coming Out Day.
This previous Sunday was National Coming Out Day, a time of year meant to give space for those who want to come to as their queer selves. But the onis isn’t completely only those that want to come out; the rest of us need to also create an environment that is supportive and welcoming during one of life’s more daunting challenges. Hopefully, one day, “coming out” won’t even be necessary, but lingering on this for too long would distract from our current reality.
“For the past decade the It Gets Better Project has been amplifying LGBTQ+ voices, providing resources and inspiring hope for LGBTQ+ youth around the globe,” says Justin Tindall, Director of Education and Programming at ‘It Gets Better.’ “Partnering with Instagram for National Coming Out Day provides an opportunity to share our custom It Gets Better Coming Out Guide with the global Instagram audience and provide hope and assistance to anyone learning to embrace who they are. This guide will live as a tool kit for the national observance and beyond, and we hope it helps any LGBTQ+ person find the strength they need to tell their loved ones.”
“We were so excited to be able to create this Instagram guide for Coming Out Day. Providing a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to come out—and for parents and families and allies to learn how to receive this new information about their loved ones—is what PFLAG is all about. That we can now create this space on Instagram means that more people than ever will get the support and education they need.”- Liz Owen, Director of Communications at PFLAG
V Magazine caught up with Tegan and Sara to discuss the initiative, its importance, and what they hope to accomplish with the guides.
What are your personal thoughts on National Coming Out Day? Do you see it as a pure positive or negative that such a day exists, or are you somewhere in between?
We have seen first hand how many people use National Coming Out Day to tell their family or friends about their sexuality. Many feel bolstered by the outpouring of stories and positive affirmations they see on social media or in the news and we feel like that makes a National Coming Out day something worth celebrating.
That being said, coming out is different for everyone, and the pressure to come out, especially on a day like this, can be overwhelming. Ultimately the most important, and the only person you ever need to come out to, is you. And so on this day, like every other day of the year, we just hope that people do what feels right for them.
What resources did you have yourself when you were young and trying to understand or tell others about your sexuality?
We were experimenting and coming to terms with our sexuality in the 90’s and honestly, there were very few resources or people in our age group that were out, so it was hard. GSA’s didn’t exist, and representation of coming out, especially for young queer women, was basically non-existent, so we had to make our own rules, and create our own language when expressing ourselves to our family and friends.
How do you envision these new resources, the ones you’re helping to create, being used?
Since we came out and graduated high school and started Tegan and Sara we’ve just been trying to be as honest and as open about who we are as we can so that anyone of any age listening or watching might find something in us, or our stories to help them. When we created Tegan and Sara Foundation our hope was to create a more focused and diverse list of organizations, resources, and support to offer to our community so they can live fuller, happier, and more supported lives. So we hope people find these resources and they help. That’s the goal.
How did your own experience coming out help shape this initiative, or help motivate you to be a part of it?
I think we just felt so alone and underrepresented for most of our lives. Coming out was so awkward. With so little representation I think it was hard for people in our lives to fully understand what our life would look like. We’ve gone on to live full, happy, successful lives. We’ve loved and been loved and we just want more people from the LGBTQ+ community to have that.
For us, the idea that we can make coming out, being who you are, and loving whomever you love an easier experience is all we want.
Why was Instagram the right tool for this project?
Instagram has such a wide audience from people thinking about coming out to the friends and family that support them, hopefully, the guide will be able to help as many people as possible no matter what place they are at in their journey.