Junos 2024: Tegan and Sara given humanitarian award

Calgary singer-songwriters Tegan and Sara were honoured at this year’s Juno Awards for their efforts to support 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

The pair were given the 2024 Humanitarian Award for their work through the Tegan and Sarah Foundation in Halifax on Sunday night.

During their acceptance speech, the sisters called out the “discrimination that threatens the wellbeing of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.”

They specifically took aim at the Alberta government.

“Threats like the Alberta government’s attempts to prevent trans youth from accessing vital care,” Sara said.

At the end of January, Premier Danielle Smith announced her government was pursuing legislation that would ban puberty blocks and hormone therapy for children 15 and younger except for those who have already started those treatments.

Smith said 16 and 17-year-olds can begin hormone treatment if they are deemed mature enough and have the approval of their parents, physician and psychologist.

The proposed legislation would also prohibit top and bottom surgery for those under 17.

The award was presented to Tegan and Sara by Halifax-born trans-actor and producer Elliot Page.

“The Tegan and Sara Foundation has one simple mandate — to provide safety and community to 2SLGBTQ+ people,” said Page, who was assigned female at birth and transitioned to male in 2020.

“Tegan and Sara have proven time and time again their commitment to ensuring that the lives of 2SLGBTQ+ people are happy, healthy and, most importantly, long.”

The sisters also took the time to thank all the organizations they’ve worked with across Canada.

“Thank you for existing and for standing up for our community. To the many who have come before us and fought before us, we share this honour with you.”

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Alberta’s proposed legislation regarding trans youth is expected in the fall.

The premier’s office said the proposed changes are aimed at supporting the transgender community.

“The government is introducing these policies across several ministries to preserve the choices children and youth have before potentially making life-altering and often irreversible adult decisions,” said Sam Blackett, Premier Smith’s press secretary, in a statement that did not directly address the comments made by the pop duo.

“To reaffirm our support for the transgender community, we are also providing additional supports to assist transgender adults to secure the health care they need like bringing medical professionals who specialize in transgender care to Alberta.”

The legislation is also expected to build a database of doctors for transgender Albertans and launch a pilot project for counselling to help transgender youth and their families.

(With files from CTV Atlantic)

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