Tegan and Sara Want You to Be Proud of Your Feet

The Tegan and Sarah Foundation provides grants for camps serving LGBTQ+ youth. (Image credit: Tegan and Sara Foundation)

The Tegan and Sara Foundation, founded by the eponymous indie/folk/pop musical duo, has partnered with shoemaker Teva to launch a limited-edition, multi-colored sandal to support the LGBTQ+ community. The elevated rainbow sandal celebrates Pride Month, and Teva will donate a portion of sales to the Tegan and Sara Foundation (TSF).

TSF “fights for health, economic justice and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.” Launched in 2016 on a commitment to feminism and racial, social and gender justice, TSF is in solidarity with other organizations fighting for LGBTQ and women’s rights. The Foundation raises awareness and funds to address the inequalities currently preventing LGBTQ girls and women from reaching their full potential.

“We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16,” say Tegan and Sara. “This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation. Teva’s generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth.”

Teva will donate fifteen dollars for each pair of Flatform Universal Pride sandals sold, up to a guaranteed maximum donation of $30,000, to the TSF to continue the movement for racial equality, social and gender justice for young girls and women. The donation will fund scholarships for LGBTQ+ youth to attend summer camps that help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment.

The Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal is inspired by the LGBTQ Pride flag’s message of empowerment and inclusivity, and retails for $80. It’s available for purchase on Teva.com and Nordstrom.com.

Identical twins Tegan and Sara Quinn were born in Calgary, Alberta in 1980 and have been making music together since their teens. (Another out gay singer-song writer from Alberta is k.d. lang, born in Edmonton in 1961). Tegan and Sara both sing and play multiple instruments, and their indie folk/pop style has won them a wide following. They’ve been nominated for a Grammy, performed at the 2015 Oscars, and, in addition to their regular touring schedule, have played mega festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza and Glastonbury. Their first record came out in 1998, and since then they have released seven LPs and many EPs. In their native Canada, Tegan and Sara received the 2018 National Arts Centre Award, part of the Governor General’s Performing Art Awards recognizing “excellence and career achievement of Canadian performing artists.”

There was no public coming out moment for Tegan and Sara as they have identified as queer since the 1989, and have always been LGBTQ equality and gender justice advocates. They are known for their close relationship with their fans, and for being very public about their status as feminists and queer people, having appeared on the cover of LGBTQ magazines including The Advocate, Out, and Curve. The sisters have also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to advocate for LGBTQ issues, and they delivered a closing keynote at the 2018 “Lesbians Who Tech Summit” in San Francisco.

According to TSF, “inclusion” is the essential message underpinning Tegan and Sara’s worldview and identity; “the Foundation is an extension of their work, identity and longstanding commitment to supporting and building progressive social change.” TSF debuted in October 2016 following a nationwide “listening and learning tour” where Tegan and Sara met with LGBTQ young people, researchers, legislators and nonprofits. They found that LGBTQ women are underfunded, underrepresented and under-researched, and learned that funding for gay men’s causes is double that of queer women’s. The Foundation was born out of a desire to change these statistics and improve lives.

TSF partners with many different nonprofits doing transformative work for LGBTQ girls and women. It also provides funding for summer camps for LGBTQ youth. Among the organizations and projects that TSF have supported are:

Zebra Coalition and the LGBTQ+ Center Orlando, which provide counseling services for LGBTQ youth in response to spikes in suicide hotline calls;
Equality NC, which has rallied against anti-LGBTQ legislation in North Carolina;
Audre Lorde Project’s community support initiatives for LGBTQ people;
• A DonorsChoose.org campaign to increase LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in public schools;
• Initiatives at concerts to educate LGBTQ women about healthcare options, and support local LGBTQ organizations.

Tegan and Sara will be performing on June 29 in Salt Lake City at the LOVELOUD Festival, which is raising funds to support LGBTQ+ youth. The concert, headlined by Kesha, takes place on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, and the sisters are sponsoring a “Meet Tegan and Sara at the LOVELOUD Festival and win their microKORG Keyboard” contest which will help fund TSF’s summer camp scholarships for LGBTQ+ youth. If concerts aren’t your bag, watch for Tegan and Sara’s memoir High School which will be out in September.

Author: Tim Lehnert

Tim Lehnert is a writer and editor who lives in Cranston, Rhode Island. His articles and essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly, the Boston Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. He is the author of the book Rhode Island 101, and has published short fiction for kids and adults in a number of literary journals and magazines. He received an M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, and an M.A. in English from California State University, Northridge.

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