Every day, the debate is heating up over proposed legislation the Alberta NDP says aims to prevent teachers from outing gay children to their parents. Now, a superstar pop duo made up of openly gay, 37-year-old twin sisters who were born and raised in Calgary, is offering Rachel Notley’s government some serious social media support for Bill 24.
“Growing up in Alberta we had loving + open minded parents + friends + we still chose to come out after we graduated high school,” Tegan and Sara (whose last names are Quin) tweeted from their official Twitter account, which boasts over 600,000 followers, on Thursday.
“Coming out should be a choice. Safe inclusive spaces should be the norm. And privacy should be non negotiable. #bill24”
Earlier this month, Education Minister David Eggen introduced Bill 24 to ensure students who join gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in Alberta schools are not outed without their consent. The bill also stipulates that any school that receives public funding needs to take specific actions to create and foster GSAs if their students request to form one.
Gay-straight alliances are peer-support clubs set up by students to promote understanding and help LGBTQ kids feel safe and free from bullying.
“We are continuing to ensure that all students feel welcome at school regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” Eggen said on Nov. 2.
While on tour in the U.S., Tegan and Sara tweeted half-a-dozen times on Thursday about Bill 24 and why they support it.
“Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Politicians — you can do better. Center students,” one tweet read. “Ensure they grow up protected, happy, strong and ready to conquer the world. It’s a tough place. They need you. DO BETTER!”
However, some have raised concerns about Bill 24, saying it goes too far. The United Conservative Party (UCP) and its leader, Jason Kenney, have said it supports GSAs and is against out gay kids but believe teachers should have the right to tell parents if a child joins a GSA depending on the situation.
“Bill 24 would make it illegal to engage parents about certain school activities for children beginning in kindergarten, regardless of their individual circumstances,” Kenney said on Wednesday.
“You can’t say you support LGBTQ people then vote against us,” Tegan and Sara tweeted on Thursday in a post about the UCP proposing an amendment to the bill.
In Alberta, students already have the right to set up a GSA in their school if they want one, but the government said updated rules are needed to clarify language, mandate action and close loopholes.
“Dear LGBTQ youth in Alberta,” Tegan and Sara tweeted on Thursday. “You are AWESOME. Keep being you. And come out when YOU are ready. No one should take that away from you. We support you, your privacy and your GSAs. We’ve got your backs. #bill24”
It’s not the first time the Grammy-nominated indie pop duo, who are known for hits like “Closer” and “Everything Is Awesome,” have been vocal on social media about issues concerning LGBTQ youth. Earlier this year, they made headlines when they questioned why YouTube’s “restricted” setting appeared to block a wide variety of LGBTQ-friendly content for no clear reason.