Dirt Bags

An excerpt from the memoir ‘High School’ by Tegan and Sara

Sara Quin and Tegan Quin
Gay Mag
Published in
7 min readSep 24, 2019

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Photo courtesy of the authors

II was in sixth grade when the first suggestion of change occurred to my body. I stood in a hallway mirror that hung between the three bedrooms in our house, staring at my bare chest. I was afraid someone would catch me inspecting myself, but as with any gruesome discovery, I couldn’t stop looking. The permanence of the change upon me altered how I felt about my bathing suit. That summer, on vacation in Georgia and Florida, I started to wear a T-shirt over my one-piece. When asked why, I claimed I was cold. I devised ways to get in and out of pools and the ocean quickly and then plant myself belly down on the towel stretched next to my younger cousins. I hated how exposed I felt on the crowded beach while my mom rubbed sunscreen onto my back. My vulnerability and shame made me curl my shoulders.

That same summer I found myself unable to turn away from the older girls who lay out confidently in their bikinis near our family’s cluster of deck chairs. I was nervous that one of them might catch me looking in their direction, so I squinted and played dead when their eyes occasionally met mine. These roots of attraction didn’t yet register as sexual. Instead, I became obsessed with trying to look like them.

I stopped wearing my hair up in a ponytail and let my curled ends fall past my…

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Sara Quin and Tegan Quin
Gay Mag
Writer for

Twin sisters born in Canada, Tegan and Sara have sold more than one million albums and released nine studio albums over the course of their twenty-year career.