Climate change is not just. 22% of LGBTQ+ people live in poverty in America compared to 16% of cisgender straight people. Communities facing higher poverty rates are especially vulnerable to the climate crisis. This marginalized community is too often left out of the climate justice conversation despite being more susceptible to the effects of climate change. This month, we’re raising awareness of the injustices the LGBTQ+ community faces and spotlighting organizations and individuals that uplift LGBTQ+ voices and help bring climate justice to a historically marginalized community.
So, how did this disparity happen? Why are LGBTQ+ individuals facing homelessness at a higher rate? You likely agree that everyone deserves access to clean renewable energy and the opportunity to live a healthy and prosperous life. This isn’t the reality for the LGBTQ+ community. Access to clean energy and resilience to climate change and natural disasters are too often out of reach for them. They face discrimination, harassment, unequal pay, unaffordable and unlivable housing, and homelessness.
Gender and sexual orientation should never affect one’s opportunity to be able to earn a livable wage, have adequate shelter, and keep food on the table for themselves and their loved ones, yet the U.S. Census Bureau found that same-sex couples experienced higher unemployment rates than Americans as a whole almost every year from 2014 to 2019 and that LGBTQ+ youth and young adults are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Poor treatment and harassment at home cause LGBTQ+ youth to either be kicked out of their home at a young age or leave on their own without any financial support due to intolerable treatment.
Without adequate income to support the eternally increasing cost of living in America, these individuals can easily become victims of climate change disasters. When a natural disaster happens, they don’t have a safe structure to use for protection and can be severely injured or killed. The threat of becoming a victim of climate change is increased when paired with discrimination from property owners, forcing many in the LGBTQ+ community into poor housing conditions and homelessness. To top it off, the locations they’re left with are typically in toxic areas where air pollution is high which leads to a host of health problems.
One thing is certain – the green revolution is making massive strides in fighting climate change across the globe. And the momentum is only growing. But in rushing to combat the climate crisis we cannot forget about our most at-risk communities. Here are some individuals and groups bringing climate justice to the LGTBQ+ community.
Organizations & Activists Creating Climate Justice for LGBTQ+ Individuals
When it comes to climate change, the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t have easy access to the tools they need to survive natural disasters that result from climate change. This month (or any month!), you can support organizations raising awareness at the intersection of climate justice and LGBTQ+ activism.
- The Venture Out Project leads backpacking and wilderness trips for the queer and transgender community and provides transgender inclusion workshops for the public. Everyone deserves to experience and enjoy the great outdoors! The Venture Out Project provides a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to do so. Get involved with this organization by donating, volunteering, or becoming an instructor.
- OUT for Sustainability OUT for Sustainability provides a platform for creating climate resilience and environmental justice by and for LGBTQ+ communities through advocacy, training, fundraising, and building relationships. Since 2008, OUT4S has hosted over 4,000 people at more than 100 events in seven states, including service projects and a national summit. You can donate to their cause or participate with the organization as a project volunteer.
- Queer X Climate is an international organization dedicated to uniting and supporting climate and LGBTQ+ activism to develop and implement solutions for the global climate crisis. This organization publicizes climate wins from climatic actions being implemented by members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. Read articles on climate change-related topics written by the community here.
- Patti Gonia is an environmentalist drag queen building a community for the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and environmentalists to fight the climate crisis. They created an online job board for LGBTQ+ individuals interested in working in the environmental and outdoor industries. Follow Patti to participate in their environmental fundraising and learn more about their work at the intersection of environmental justice and the LGBTQ+ community.
- Queer Ecojustice Project is a base-building and membership-driven organization that creates educational resources, researches and teaches ecojustice theory and strategy, and uplifts the voices of those whose lives and work embody the intersections of environmental justice and LGBTQ+ activism. Check out their multimedia and academic resources to educate yourself on topics in queer ecological justice.
- Rachel Kyte is the former CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, an international organization that works with governmental leaders to create equity around sustainable energy. After teaching as a professor in sustainable development within the Fletchers School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Kyte recently became the first female dean at the Fletchers School. She has two children.
- Isaias Hernandez is a content creator and public speaker on QueerBrownVegan, which serves as an educational platform for like-minded individuals to learn terminology in the environmental movement. Isaias became an environmental educator after growing up in Section 8 Housing in Los Angeles, California and witnessing firsthand how pollution affects their body. Follow QueerBrownVegan to learn more about environmental justice.
Join us in celebrating these incredible people and organizations by joining their boots-on-the-ground efforts, educating yourself on how you can become a better ally, or donating to their causes.