Tegan and Sara have been written about and interviewed thousands of times throughout their career, and probably 90 percent of the time they are asked about being a woman in music, being a lesbian in music or a combination of both. They’ve also been the subject of a song about their being gay by the punk band NOFX called “Creeping Out Sara,” which included insulting lyrics about incestuous relationships, dildos and other lesbian stereotypes.
So Sara Quin knows a thing or two about homophobia and misogyny in the music industry, and she has decided to take a stand against it. She took to her blog on teganandsara.com to air her grievances about the rapper Tyler, the Creator, who enjoys using “faggot” in his lyrics and everyday vernacular. And though you may have not heard of him yet, he’s one of hip-hop’s rising stars, which is why Sara wrote a blog post that included some of these sentiments:
As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate “Tyler, the Creator,” I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid’s sickening rhetoric? Why should I care about this music or its “brilliance” when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible? There is much that upsets me in this world, and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve drafted an open letter or complaint, but in the past I’ve found an opinion – some like-minded commentary – that let me rest assured that my outrage, my voice, had been accounted for. Not this time.
Tyler obviously did not welcome this “call for change,” because this is what he Tweeted Sunday night:
Only a week ago he told The Guardian, “I’m not homophobic. I just say ‘faggot’ and use ‘gay’ as an adjective to describe stupid shit.” Clearly Mr. Tyler is, above all, ignorant. Should we be using “You’re so Tyler” when we’re talking about uneducated people with a lacking vocabulary? I might be OK with that.
Sara knew she could draw some of Tyler and his fan’s criticism by posting her thoughts in a public forum, and I commend her for it. She said she wanted to take a stand, and she has. She writes:
It is not without great hesitation and hand wringing that I enter into the discourse about Tyler, the media who glorifies and excuses misogyny and homophobia, and the community of artists that doesn’t seem remotely bothered by it. I can only hope that someone reading this might be inspired to speak out. At the very least, I will know that my voice is on record.
In 2009, when NOFX debuted their song about her, Sara told us how she felt about the insulting lyrics:
There’s so much sexism and homophobia in the world and in the industry, and Tegan and I have struggled with that our entire careers. So anytime we sort of feel like people are not being respectful, you don’t want to let it hurt your feelings, but there’s also a part of you that knows that — I mean, I don’t think those guys are bad guys, I don’t think they were trying to hurt our feelings, or be disrespectful or whatever, but I don’t think people very often think they are doing that.
There’s been lots of press or things said about that, and I think “Oh my god. If you actually knew what you said was really offensive,” I don’t think most people would do it or say it — they just don’t have that education.
But anyway, my first instinct was that this is a band that has a certain type of audience and it was more important to me that the audience was probably going to take it as a diss or as a license to treat us or think of us in a certain way. There’s not much you can do about that, you know? It just happens.
Three years later and it appears she’s changed her mind. Thank you, Sara, for bringing attention to this ridiculous pardoning that the media and critics give to someone they find aesthetically pleasing when they are consistently saying and doing hurtful, homophobic things. His Twitter retort is just a prime example of how much a blog post like this was needed by someone in Sara’s position.