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The G in LGBTQ Stands for Green: What the Environmentalists Can Learn From the Queer Movement

The G in LGBTQ Stands for Green: What the Environmentalists Can Learn From the Queer Movement

By Kevin Keegan

I am very lucky to be able to give myself so fully to two communities, my gays and my tree huggers, and I’m so thankful for everything they give me in return. Watching the tremendous strides the queer movement has made in recent years in regards to both political legislation and social climate demonstrates how it is a crusade for justice that we should try to emulate. The environmental movement in particular has needed a Queer Eye makeover for quite some time now; clearly not enough people are buying what she is selling and that is unacceptable. Here are just a few of the lessons that can be taken from the fight for queer equality in order to build a more sustainable future.  

we will also inspire countless others to join the environmental movement when they see themselves represented.

There is no one way an environmentalist should look

While not always adequately represented, the queer community is filled with a million different identities and perspectives. There are infinite ways to experience queerness and an even greater infinity of races, socioeconomic statuses, abilities, sizes, religions, nationalities, experiences, EVERYTHING within the queer movement. Environmentalists are no different. We should be doing everything to break the stereotype that an environmentalist looks a certain way. Birkenstocks, hiker, vegetarian, and far too often white, is the image that comes to mind or is depicted. By lifting up the voices of environmentalists who come from marginalized backgrounds or have different perspectives (yes, even conservative ones), not only will we be able to get the diverse brains we need on board working towards creative solutions, but we will also inspire countless others to join the environmental movement when they see themselves represented.   

Finding the balance between a serious issue and a celebration

Pride events work perfectly as cornerstone gathering of the queer community because they recognize that being queer is worth celebrating. It coexists in two camps so perfectly- it’s a political protest because it is a million voices coming together to shout “we exist and can’t be ignored or silenced” and it’s simultaneously a soul replenishing parrrttttaaayyyyy because its your chance to sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” in the streets with your tribe. Environmentalism is in many ways a celebration of nature- so let’s act like it. Hype up your friend’s thrift store finds, show up your friends’ red solo cups with the reusable one you brought to the function, take yourself on a date to the wilderness to rebuild your connection with nature, and take pride in the steps you are taking to build a more sustainable world. That’s the best part about fun, it’s contagious and if we play our cards right we can invite everyone to this party for the planet.   

Both movements need to do a better job of addressing the needs of everyone in their community, especially the most vulnerable.

Everyone is impacted differently

Every queer person has faced discrimination in some form or another, but we all experience it differently and certain people are left far more vulnerable than others. Many people might not have the economic means to leave their homophobic town, or maybe they live in a far less progressive country, or they hold an identity that is already scrutinized by society. Homophobia absolutely discriminates and so does climate change. The underprivileged will carry the dominant weight of the climate crisis (despite it being caused by primarily the world’s most wealthy). Indigenous islanders will be forced to abandon their land and become climate  refugees because of rising sea levels, regions of water scarcity will experience even more droughts, natural disasters will demolish areas without the means for sufficient infrastructure, and countless other injustices are impending for the world’s disenfranchised. Both movements need to do a better job of addressing the needs of everyone in their community, especially the most vulnerable.

Environmentalists should take after those who dance a little harder at pride when they are walking past homophobic protesters.

Don’t worry about who you can’t help

Listen. The bad news is that there will always be homophobes and there will always be people who deny climate change. I’ve spent hours racking my brain trying to figure out how to get someone to understand that people are just trying to love and be loved and that there are mountains of evidence that human activity is changing the climate and it’s going to be really, really bad. Sometimes there’s little to nothing that can be done. Deep breath- forget about em’. Environmentalists should take after those who dance a little harder at pride when they are walking past homophobic protesters. Let climate deniers fuel your fire and motivate you to work so hard to help the planet that their lies are just little whispers in the wind. If your politician claims to be an environmentalist, make them prove it through their work. Your time is far better spent supporting those who do want to help so that they can be the best environmentalists they can and want to be.

(All in all, let’s aim to keep it gay and keep it green.)

2 Comments

  1. 5 months ago

    Nice article, thank you for the sharing

  2. Ellie W
    4 months ago

    Wow Kevin! This was absolutely awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you.