Queers x Climate: From Vulnerable Collective to Agent of Change
The LGBTQ+ community has been fighting for its rights for years and now also for nature. Will the rainbow flag become the emblem of a more sustainable future?
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Both social and political movement, if anything defines LGBTQ+ it is the word "change". Since the mid-1960s with the Stonewall riots - although we can trace their struggle even to the ancient world - they have faced discrimination and violence from the patriarchal system and aggressive capitalism, based on the law of the strongest and the exploitation of people and resources for the benefit of a few.
Race, class, and gender, says intersectional feminism, are not watertight boxes. And when we add climate change, the result is that those who suffer most are those who have the least, and those who have the least are neither white, nor rich, nor heterosexual men.
That's why Queer x Climate (QxC), an international NGO based in Mexico, emerged with a maxim: No society is fair and equal if it is not sustainable.
"Minorities are the first groups to be marginalized in times of crisis," says Diego de León, the president of this new organization created months before COP25 that flies the rainbow flag to fight climate change.
"In just one decade, the scarcity of resources caused by climate change will increase the number of socio-economic and political conflicts, resulting in a severe setback to the human rights gains made in recent years," he adds.
Although for De León, beyond being vulnerable subjects, members of the LGBTQ+ collective can be agents of a change in consciousness at a global level, and this change begins with each one of us. Not only in the products we consume, but in the way we do it.
"Minorities are the first groups to be marginalized in times of crisis."
"According to recent studies, the LGBTQ+ population in North America alone has the purchasing power equivalent to one trillion dollars. We must direct our power as consumers towards low-emission development and be able, in the face of public sector hesitation, to mobilize and take ambitious climate actions that will help achieve the Paris Agreement goals," he says.
This means that QxC will carry out its own actions and give visibility to those within the movement who are part of this fight against climate change.
"We seek to de-stigmatize the community by presenting their work and giving inspiring examples," says the activist, while using "the justly won spaces to strengthen other pressing community agendas."
The Kuznets' inequality curve dictates that the richer a country is, the more the inequality grows, to a point where the decline begins. Some sociologists and economists, says Diego de León, compare this same curve with environmental deterioration, even predicting, based on countries like the Nordic countries, that this growth in wealth and greater ecological degradation has its turning point.
However, for the president of QxC, this type of generalization is very complex and impossible to predict:
"Unfortunately, the world is experiencing a setback in social progress due to a distancing of progressive governments from those who have been affected by political and social reforms. This has exacerbated conservatism and nationalism, which has had a serious impact on multilateralism; proof of this is the failure of COP25."
Therefore, they are convinced that it is up to the NGOs to find ways to advance progressive agendas, appealing not to the goodwill of the people, but to actions.
Which, in their case, they will make known throughout 2020. Although they have already made some commitments...
Research on how climate change affects the LGBTQ+ community is one of them.
"We are collecting the scientific, literary and journalistic work that exists on the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and climate change. Some of the documents found are referred to the impact of air pollution on LGBTQ+ populations, which are mostly urban."
As well as the vulnerability of trans people, who suffer greater discrimination, especially in human displacement caused by climate change:
"Our community, not being able to have full access to its economic and social rights, faces greater problems in accessing medical services during disasters and trans people are victims to a greater extent of psychological, physical and sexual abuse," concludes de León.
Newly arrived from COP25, where they participated as observers, QxC will give a lot to talk about in the coming months. To make one thing clear: as Kate Millet said, the personal is political. And the political, we add, is ecological. Or it's not.