Why the struggles of the climate and LGBTQIA+ movements are deeply connected
LGBTQIA+ people recognise that the same forces that attack our communities are also the ones who are exhausting the planet, say Queers4ClimateNL.
While states fail to act comprehensively on what is the biggest crisis humanity faces, a diverse group of queer activists came together on the evening of 2 September to found a new initiative. Several people from the frontline of climate breakdown in Mongolia and India shared their experiences of climate breakdown over a vegan, partly dumpster-dived meal at a social center in Amsterdam.
After dinner, the relationship between climate breakdown and the realities of LGBTQIA+ people on the frontlines were discussed and Queers4Climate became a reality. We framed the problem as follows: Climate breakdown is of huge risk to everyone, but it has a disproportionate effect on already marginalised communities. This is what makes it a queer issue.
The Appetiser: What’s queer about climate justice?
We are dedicated to bring about system change in the way we deal with climate change, and to contribute to the climate movement regarding its queerness, intersectionality, and inclusiveness.
LGBTQIA+ people should care because hard-fought rights, freedom and equality are harder to achieve or defend in a society which faces the damaging effects of climate breakdown. As many scientists and now also the UN Human rights chief warn, climate breakdown is the biggest threat to human rights. Societal collapse leads to all sorts of disorder, violence and human rights abuse. Historically, marginalised communities are often scapegoated and further marginalised in these instances. Already, LGBTQIA+ people of colour at the forefront of climate change related disasters, conflicts, and displacements face disproportionate hardships.
We also share the sense of urgency expressed by others in the climate movement, but we relate to it differently. LGBTQIA+ people who face systematic oppression recognise that the same forces that attack our communities are also the ones who are exhausting the planet. We are aware that our struggles are connected, and that our survival depends on our solidarity with each other—no one is free until we all are.
The Main Course: How many queers does it take to stop climate breakdown?
We quickly divided up into groups and discussed narratives, outreach and mobilisation, and aesthetics for organising a Queer Bloc during the Climate Strike on September 27, in The Hague (the final day of an unprecedented global week of protest for climate action). Over fierce discussions, we came to the conclusion that we must invite all LGBTQIA+ people and allies who are able to take to the streets. Therefore we are dedicated to provide a safer space for LGBTQIA+ people to protest, where they can come as they are, but also to practice care and solidarity.
The Desert: Who wants a Queer New Deal?
With much enthusiasm we came back together for desert and to discuss future steps. Since the climate strike will not immediately stop climate breakdown, we are determined to make our engagement sustainable. Many will join the Rebel Without Borders action week which takes place from October 6-14, worldwide and other events which deserve a queer bloc. Also, we need to advocate for solidarity and intersectionality when taking action on climate change. In all these moments we need the world to know: "We’re here! We're queer! System change is near!