Climate Change intersects with so many other aspects of society and the queer liberation or LGBTQIA+ rights movement is no different. This Pride month we are exploring how and why climate change and the LGBTQIA+ community is deeply interlinked and why that matters. This intro blog gives you a taster of what’s to come.
Climate change and queer communities
The global LGBTQIA+ community is disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change.
For example, across the globe the queer community makes up a disproportionate percentage of the unhoused and homeless community. In the USA, 40% of youth who experience homelessness identify as LGBTQIA+, even though they represent just 7% of the population. In the UK, Crisis reported 24% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQIA+ and are less likely to be housed than their straight peers. It is these homeless communities who are most at risk from the – increasing – effects of climate change, such as air and water pollution, extreme weather like heat waves and blizzards, and natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.
In the Gay Times special edition ‘No Planet, No Pride’, writer Diyora Shadijanova, succinctly summarised this reality for the queer community: ‘We are already seeing that those at the sharp end of the climate crisis tend to be the most vulnerable and marginalised, especially people with gender-specific risks in disaster displacement contexts such as trans, non-binary and intersex individuals, meaning that LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, many of whom have faced historical oppressions, have to confront a unique threat.’
If we consider the many ways queer people – especially queer people of colour – face a nexus of inequalities, such as being more likely to be in poverty, or having lower health outcomes, it is unsurprising that the LGBTQIA+ community is so vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.
Queerness in nature
The queer liberation movement challenges the patriarchal, heteronormative, and capitalist power structures found in Western societies – whether that’s demanding equal rights in law, pushing for the acceptance and rights of trans and non-binary people, or going beyond the gender binary and rethinking masculinities and femininities. Climate change is a phenomenon that has been driven by these same power structures – the extractive nature of capitalist and colonialism. In this respect, the queer movement and climate change activism are both radically challenging society’s status quo and looking for alternative ways of living.
Queer Ecology is a powerful school of thought in reimagining these alternative ways of living. In an episode of the Ecopolitics Podcast, Professor of Environmental Arts and Justice, Dr. Cate Sandilands, explains that ‘the central tenets of queer ecology are that experiences of sexuality and gender identity are also influential in shaping one’s relationship to the natural world’ and that our understanding of the natural world was one based on heterosexist and homophobic formulations. (Listen here for more)
TEDxLondon’s podcast Climate Curious touched on this idea within environmental Drag Queen, Pattie Gonia’s episode ‘Why mother nature is a drag queen’. Pattie says ‘When I think of queerness it’s so much more, beyond sexuality, queerness is the oddity in this world to problem solve no matter what. To almost be different and to bring beauty and brilliance to that through their difference’. Pattie’s sentiments are echoed by other queer climate activists who see queer theory, queer ecology and/or queerness as having the potential to offer creative, imaginative and radical solutions to climate change.
An intersectional and inclusive movement
TEDxLondon has long been an ally for the LGBTQIA+ community and regularly features queer voices on our stage, podcast and other media. With our growing podcast, Climate Curious, we felt Pride was the ideal moment to launch our Pride x Climate miniseries in an attempt to truly grow and support an intersectional and inclusive climate movement.
Previous podcast speaker, Queer Brown Vegan – aka Isaias Hernandez, spoke about the reality of the climate and environmental movement not being inclusive in one our Pride Quickies: “I created Queer Brown Vegan because my queerness has been something that I really have often hidden away in environmental research”.
Isaias’s experiences are echoed by other queer and trans climate activists. Listening to Our Climate Voices podcast and their episode: ‘IN CONVERSATION: An Episode on Climate Justice & Queer and Trans Liberation’, five speakers shared their experiences of being in both the queer and climate movement – and how much further the movement as to go to be truly inclusive.
We believe only an intersectional climate movement that includes the voices and experiences of queer and queer people of colour will be successful in tackling climate change. Not also forgetting that the success of the queer liberation movement and the experience of the queer community is a powerful advantage to include within the climate movement.
So what are we doing?
Climate Curious will bring together special Pride themed episodes this month! Make sure you subscribe and listen to Climate Curious get your fill on Pride x Climate content. You can find Climate Curious on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS | Android
- Listen to Pattie Gonia explain ‘What is queer ecology’ in a 5 minute Pride Climate Quickie.
- Enjoy Queer Brown Vegan aka Isaias Hernandez explore ‘Why climate has a diversity problem’ in their 5 minute Pride Climate quickie.
- Keep an eye on your podcast feed for special, new and Pride x Climate Curious mini series starting this month and continuing over the summer!
We’re also delighted to share some resources to get you started learning more about the relationship between climate change and pride, including things to read, to listen to, to follow and to support.
Pride x Climate Resources
- How to queer ecology: one goose at a time – by Alex Johnson, Orion Magazine
- The Next Generation of Climate Activists Is Queer – by Eve Ettinger, them
- 9 Activists and Educators to Follow for a Revolutionary View of Climate Justice – by James Factora and Wren Sanders, them
- Queer activism and the fight for our climate – by Dan Yaxley, 2050 Climate Group.
- No Planet, No Pride: Why climate justice is LGBTQ+ justice – by Diyora Shadijanova, Gay Times
- What the queer community brings to the fight for climate justice – by Aletta Brady, Anthony Torres, & Phillip Brown, Grist
- How queerness can help us approach the climate crisis in new ways – by Jamie Windust, Gay Times
- The LGBTQ+ Community and Climate Justice – by Maudie Cooper, Carbon Literary Project
- Why Queer Liberation Is an Environmental Justice Issue – by Lisa Pradhan, Earth Justice
- Queering Climate Activism by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, yes!
- Atmos magazine – we love this article Queering the Food System – by Daphne Chouliaraki Milner
- In Conversation: An Episode on Climate Justice & Queer and Trans Liberation, Our Climate Voices
- Ecofeminism and Queer Ecology– Episode 9 – Ecopolitics Podcast
- Patti Gonia – Environmentalist & Drag queen
- Queer Brown Vegan – Isaisas Hernandez – Environmental educator
- Christopher Griffin – Author & Botanical/Plant person
- Willow Defebaugh – Editor of Atmos digital magazine
- Intersectional Environmentalist – permacultural
- PermaQueer – Australian organisation queering permaculture
- Jada L. Kennedy – Intersectional, Black activist and organiser in Youth For Climate & Fridays for Future movements
- Izzy McLeod aka the Quirky Environmentalist – Sustainable fashion blogger
- Jamie Margolin – Founder of This is Zero Hour (intersectional youth activists)
- Queer Ecojustice Project
- The Institute of Queer Ecology
- Mikaela Loach – Climate justice activist
- Aletta Brady – Founder of Our Climate Voices
- GiveOut is an award-winning international LGBTQI community foundation enabling the community and allies to give in one place to support LGBTQI activism worldwide. GiveOut’s Climate Fund will support LGBTQI activists working around the world to help tackle the climate crisis. Learn more.
- Queers for Climate (QXC) is an international an organization dedicated to unite and support climate and LGBTQ+ activism to develop and implement solutions for our common global climate crisis. Learn more.
- Our Climate Voices connects you with grassroots climate change solutions, augments climate stories to spark climate action and centres the voices of those most impacted. Learn more.