we sit in our cosy rooms with the air conditioning on, with no worries about water, with plenty of food in our pantry. this creates an illusion that we might be safe from climate change. no, queen, we’re not safe. it’s just that some of us are feeling the effects of climate change a lot sooner than the rest of us. And the LGBTQIA+ community is unfortunately one of those that will feel it sooner rather than later. in support of Pride month, we want to spend some time talking about how the prejudice against the LGBTQIA+ community makes them especially vulnerable and thus, miles away from climate justice.
the BT given to LGBT
to put in words the courage it takes to love oneself despite everything society spews is not a simple task. what we can probably take a shot at explaining is the social and infrastructural challenges faced by the community:
a friend of ours was forced to leave their parents home because they were unwilling to accept the gender they identified with. unfortunately, homelessness isn’t a rarity for many in the LGBTQIA+ community. there are cases where the property owner simply refuses to rent out housing to people from the community. in less extreme cases, individuals find themselves with unstable housing – whether they’re couch surfing, living in a car or in a shelter if they can find one – and even that can take a significant mental and physical toll.
the social stigma, discrimination and hatred towards the community can severely limit their chances in achieving socio-economic stability. in severe cases, the problematic conditions often force many individuals to turn to illegal means (such as sex work, begging) to meet their basic needs. It further invites animosity from police, municipalities and government institutions. not to mention the violence and exploitation the community endures.
in less severe but in no way less alienating cases, individuals are either forced to quit their jobs, to leave their homes, to drop out, to seek refuge in segregated and isolated communities.
a gender non-conforming individual walked into a COVID-19 ration distribution center and was denied essentials because the ‘identity proofs’ didn’t match their identity. imagine being turned away from quarantine centers for the same reason. exclusion and isolation felt by the LGBTQIA+ individuals leaves them with reduced access to healthcare facilities.
climate change raises the stakes
as per the IPCC, those marginalized will face the effects of climate change sooner and with greater intensity. this is especially true for the LGBTQIA+ youth.
exposure to natural disasters
with unstable housing and/or homelessness comes the increased vulnerability to climate disasters such as droughts, floods and wildfires. as the intensity and frequency of these climate disasters increase, so does the number of individuals from the community that are forced to migrate and seek refuge. unfortunately, there isn’t much effort being made in providing this refuge apart from a few badass non-profit organizations.
lack of access to resoruces
once a climate disaster hits, LGBTQIA+ individuals may lack access to the same resources, information, and support as the general populace because of exclusion, isolation and restricted social networks. this puts the community’s resilience at risk.
take pride in climate justice
as an ally or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, we must take pride in taking climate action. we must make climate conversations more inclusive and acknowledge the impact of environmental sexism. one of the many things the LGBTQIA+ community is known for is their endless fierceness. A community that has reminded us time and time again what strength is, what love is. to us, love is open, inclusive and immensely educational. the climate movement will thrive with the voices from the LGBTQIA+ community. here’s to pride and climate justice.