Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Extensive Intersectionality between the LGBTQ and Climate Movements


Queer climate activists bring something unique and special.

Our community has already had to endure societal climates filled with unpredictable and freak disasters, analogous to climate disruption. Those who enforce strict binary roles for expressions, affections and identity strike us and sometimes violently, analogous to climate induced extreme weather disasters.

The climate crisis can be ascribed to an overaccumulation of di-pole molecules in our atmosphere, greenhouse gasses that let solar radiation in but keep it from being reflected into outer space. It is interesting how close the word di-pole sounds to binary. Enforcing the strict binaries can be described as molecules having their dipole moment.

As a result, we (the queer community) has already had to develop resilient and interdependent communities rooted in love and care for each other. It is very parallel to how The “transition town” branch of environmentalists say we must co-create resilient communities to weather the shocks of climate disruption.


Both social movements have been brought into an informal political alliance with each other because they both happen to share common political enemies.

For both movements to unite around something affirmative or to be in active dialogue with each other… It would not just be about right beliefs or belief in rights. It would be about love, the bold, courageous kind of love.

What is the intersectionality between climate and pride? The experience of valuing my genuine self as I naturally am is parallel to genuinely valuing the natural world. 

It means seeing the world in a critical thinking manner rather than justifying a dysfunctional system as it is.

It seeks the transformation of socio=political attitudes with human rights overtones but goes a bit further. Many among the LBGTQ population have had to stand up for our existence just like mitigating climate disaster is asserting ourselves for our right to exist.


Rather than strictly identifying as gay, straight or bi, we are seeing a growing sector of the population resist labels and ascribe their sexuality as more fluid. Meanwhile Global Warming increases the amount of fluidity that our atmosphere can hold. That is an ironic parallel to increased sexual fluidity in our social atmosphere.

At this time both social causes and numerous additional ones are being attacked by the same political enemy. When matters are so stark it is counterproductive to argue about which cause for liberation has a higher priority than the other. It means we have to get intersectional in a “How about we all love each other” sort of way.

         As Naomi Klein says, addressing climate not an inconvenient sacrifice for a distant threat – it is our best hope for a better present. The need to address climate brings before us a grand opportunity for all liberation movements to unite… and to right all multiple past wrongs in one fell swoop. So in this hypothesis, along with climate action comes the tearing down all forms of supremacy that considers whole groups of people to be inherently superior to others, heterosexism being one of them. 

Either way, social movements intersecting and proping each other up, enables us to become powerful enough to knock common enemies onto their back heels. But if activists across many intersections are so needlessly compartmentalized in our own little siloes, we then leave a power vacuum for the mutual opposition to exploit.

Thoughts of having an intersectional movement is compelling in a parallel way to sexual fantasies because joining together enables us to become powerful enough to overthrow our common enemies, and that type of ‘powerful’ is arousing.

But in order to be “intersectionally attractive”, it means maintaining an appearance of no throwaway planet meaning no throwaway people. That would include making a place for guys who perhaps do in fact care but are just too insecure in their gender roles to feel comfortable going green. Zero Waste would also mean Zero wasted people, which could manifest in providing green jobs for the formerly incarcerated.


   Those who shun green products and behaviors also shun gay products and behaviors for the same reasons. Both are rooted in a pressing urge to avoid being seen as feminine. But it is more based in perception than reality. Making choices that harm our common environment does not safeguard gender identity and we have to take the toxic masc off of that illusion (referring to toxic masculinity).

According to orthodox gender norms, expressing care about anything beyond one’s own narrow self-interest (which is what environmentalism is in most cases) is regarded as sentimental, feminine, irrational, subjective. It is taken as every adjective seen as the opposite of manly. But we can redefine masculinity as using intelligence to stand up to authoritarian bullies. Profiteering from plundering the public good should be redefined as a non-consensual relationship rather than as masculine.

Particularly in rural, conservative remote areas people who are either gay or alarmed about climate feel rather isolated and have a hard time finding others who are open about sharing similar traits. There are prevailing parallel social norms where displaying gay affection is risky and where talking about climate change rather than weather is considered a topic inappropriate for polite company or “getting political”. Such isolated individuals live life day after day going by without 1) taking part in an action as part of a larger climate movement or 2) sharing affection with another human being they are attracted to.

Such isolated individuals think their only opportunities to take action on climate are what they can do as individuals…feeling disempowered from much anything else. The other half of this analogy is a closeted or isolated gay individual who only feels empowered for sexual release on an individual level in the realm of fantasy. “Individual action” in both cases is inadequate in the long run for the big picture. Yet both instances help isolated individuals feel just a little better in the moment each day.

Talking with strangers to build up a movement for climate action brings much the same apprehensive feelings as directly stating affectionate interest in someone of the same sex. It risks either a harsh rejection where anti-gay attitudes and climate denialism are interchangeable, or the softer rejection of “thanks but no thanks” or “sorry not interested”. Another scenario would be rejection by someone who actually does have same sex attraction but is not out to themselves or does not want the risk of outing themselves to others. This would be parallel to being rebuffed by someone who does think that climate disruption is real and human caused but has psychological/ sociological motivations to not want to take it that seriously.   

Both gays and environmentalists ridiculed, dismissed or oppressed in very parallel ways. One side of the opposition impugns both as weak, feminine or some reactionary nonsense which bullies take as a sign of vulnerability to exploit. Another side of the opposition demonized both as powerful & power-hungry who have exploitative agendas. And there is the opposition that combines the worst of both sides where the authorities in charge actively persecute people who are gay of who are protecting their environment.

We also have to keep in mind, if an affection-starved gay individual or an action-starved environmentalist were make the first move in reaching out to someone, there is also a chance that the other person will respond very affirmatively.  It is easy to say to not take rejection personally, and the feelings of alienation and insignificance are real which motivates one to retreat. In addition, retreating and doing nothing does not solve the problem in either case.

When winning (fill in the blank)” is seen as too big, daunting and overwhelming, it incites hopelessness and inaction. That blank can be filled with either Climate Justice or Fulfillment in Gay relationships, interchangeably.

Running out of time to save the natural beauty of the world from climate disaster is deeply parallel of fear of becoming too old and unattractive to be considered desirable or attractive by the gay population, another sense of “running out of time”.

Normally, dating life presents many chances to fail and to fail better. But mitigating climate disaster does not allow opportunity for failure. The analogy here is that there is a firm deadline of 12 years from now and counting in order to achieve the promises of climate justice. Otherwise, we would pass the tipping point making a long-term doom scenario inevitable even if the consequences won’t be immediately apocalyptic. This sense of permanent doom is parallel to common perceptions that one’s physical attractiveness will be permanently unrecoverable due to aging in a culture where age is looked down upon with disdain. The analogy is not symmetrical, but there is one deep parallel worth noting.

Taking action to address climate would have been much easier, less drastic and less disruptive had we done so 25 years ago. The actions we have to take now to mitigate climate are a lot more drastic and disruptive now that the curve has gotten a lot steeper. Similarly, in a gay hook-up world where youth is in higher demand, it would have been easier for a 45 year old to make affectionate connections (analogous to implementing climate solutions) if he had the opportunity to do so 25 years previously, though not impossible or a lost cause.   

The age of 40 is often put out as an arbitrary deadline for being in demand in the dating world. A controversial topic indeed but the feelings are real.  


*Some of the common slurs used against the gay population actually happen to be much more accurate descriptions of climate denialists and people who express backlash against environmental values: 1: Having a permissive attitude toward crimes against nature 2: Spreading tolerance of dangerous lifestyle choices 3: Posing a moral danger to our children.

*Many climate denialists accuse global warming of being “a dangerous pseudoscience used to advance an inhumane social agenda”. But what those same words happen to be an actual description of gay conversion therapy.

*Those who insist everyone’s sexual orientation has to be straight (implying that being gay is a choice) happen to be the same people permitting everyone’s scientific orientation on global warming to be a type of “because I said so” circular reasoning, where authority is substituted for actual inquiry. The common phrase ‘get your facts straight’ is rather ironic in this respect.

*While this may only apply to the most reactionary of self-proclaimed Christian fundamentalists like the ones who take the big signs onto street corners, I hear them casting both homosexuality and environmentalism (labelled as earth goddess worship) as part of some sort of pagan idolatry that will supposedly bring about the apocalypse. But it is their unfettered, unregulated, vampiric worship of Neo-Liberal Economic orthodoxy which actually threatens Armageddon.

*Antigay operatives warned that marriage equality would bring upon a Biblical apocalypse or some form of societal collapse… something which the global climate crisis will actually make happen.


Marriage equality has been treated as a foreboding sign of a Biblical apocalypse. Meanwhile marriage between corporations (considered to be ‘people’ according to a legal fiction) will actually more accurately lead to a Biblical apocalypse if they act hostile to the natural world. Marriage between corporate ‘persons’ is known as mergers, so the non-enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust act or on the books anti-monopoly laws is parallel to granting “Merger Equality. The biggest example is the merging of chemical pesticide companies like Monsanto and Dupont. Again, the big irony is that the very same things that homophobes accuse the gay population of actually apply to those in positions of corporate/ political influence who aren’t considerate toward environmental values. The sense of urgency that the heterosexists had against marriage equality is parallel to the urgency of stopping these corporate mergers where anti-environment corporations become too rich and powerful for democracy to restrain.
Speaking of unnatural abominations, judges on many courts are willing to give more rights to artificial corporate persons than they are to flesh and blood natural persons who happen to be LGBTQ.   

The term ‘sincerely held religious belief’ is often invoked as a justification to permit discriminate against LGBTQ population who are non-heteronormative. But there is a way we could flip the script and claim ‘sincerely held religious belief’ against those who act contrary to environmental values. It would be specifically to challenge those who use the “linear dogma” of never ending economic growth to devalue against “our cyclical nature” (in which our natural world is full of cycles). Linear dogma presents economic growth as an unending line which just happens to resemble the word straight.  

Assuming infinite economic growth can thus be described as being linear in ones economic orientation while challenging that assumption can be described as being circular in ones economic orientation.

Those who use religion to condemn the gay population accuse us of being sinful, lustful characters who practice dastardly, obscene and disgusting acts. But those words more accurately describe the acts by those who put a linear economic orientation into practice, such as planned obsolescence.
It basically means chopping down a Northwest Territory’s worth of trees and pairing them with toxic finishes just to manufacture furniture not designed to last, so that customers would have to come back and keep buying more. In that way, planned obsolescence can accurately be described as a “lifestyle choice” that is “an abomination contrary the laws of nature”, basically the same language used to oppress the gay population.

The theology is that God the Creator designed the treasures of our earth be cycled through the web of life again and again, reflected nontheologically in the laws of Thermodynamics. 

When a linear economic orientation is put into practice, it means being an automaton for some iron law of economics that requires things be consumed, burned up, worn out and discarded at an escalating rate… all in the name of growth. It is impossible to have never ending linear growth in a closed loop system. But to publicly state that obvious point is very politically risky and would invite fierce opposition and ridicule. In analogous terms, it can be described as “coming out the closet as circular in one’s economic orientation.

If any of the big names running for President or high office simply declared the succinct truth that you can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet…then they would face an absolute tidal wave of bigotry and knee-jerk reaction. They would be treated as heretical sinners by the high priests of the liner economic order! The automatons who enforce perpetual economic growth by rebuking those who challenge or question it are basically an orthodoxy pillars of a secular fundamentalism that is very parallel to religious orthodoxies who do not want to institutionalize the questioning of heteronormativity. While not a perfect analogy given broader LGBTQ acceptance as of late, it is worth noting that the one gay man currently running for president did not come out until after he won his first election. 

In the early 1980’s we already knew of the AIDS crisis that would endanger many vulnerable lives. But the powers that be, the Reagan administration at the time, refused to address the threat because it was associated with the unfairly stigmatized gay subculture. That is parallel to how scientists at Exxon already knew of the looming climate danger from fossil fuel emissions, with the company deliberately covering up the evidence. And it was followed by periods where the political powers that be refused to address the climate threat, despite it being well documented. 

 Global Warming finally broke into mainstream political awareness in the in the late 1980’s, probably with the congressional testimony of James Hansen in 1988. That coincided with a call to address the AIDS crisis much more intently.

And we saw 2 parallel reactions. The same “Merchants of Doubt” who were marketing denial that cigarettes cause cancer started fabricating and promoting uncertainty about us climate change being real, having human causation or being serious. It is very parallel to how the social engineers against LGBTQ acceptance painted the gay population as not deal (presenting being gay as a choice), being less than fully human and not deserving of rights (denying that climate disruption is human caused) or not being worthy of taken seriously (analogous to climate deniers who admit human causation of global warming but minimize the warming as not serious or a good thing). 

As a result, many of those we thought would be political allies (the top Democrats) calculated in the 1990’s that is was too politically risky to have our backs and came up with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage. In a parallel situation, the Democrats did not take the opportunity upon winning full federal government control in 1992 and 2008 to pass major pro-climate reforms, probably due to it being perceived of as too politically risky.

Meanwhile the Republican platform has long claimed that lending recognition to same sex relationships would be an offense to some definition of traditional values. That is parallel to when former President George HW Bush mentioned climate action follow through of the 1992 Earth Summit would upend an American way of life that is ‘non-negotiable’ and similar statements from other leaders.    

The shrewdest of pro-fossil fuel climate skeptics sidestep denial of climate being real or having human causation and use skepticism about climate models as a way to dismiss anthropogenic climate change from being a serious problem.

This dismissal of climate models is somewhat parallel to the negative stereotypes about the Gay Community being “unreliable, changeable “drama queens” who have a tendency to exaggerate and engage in a bunch of projection”.


There are some well-organized and well-funded groups who are driven to exclude both the climate and LGBTQ social causes. They want expressions of queer acceptance and for climate awareness expressions to be censored from the public, silenced by the mainstream media and restricted from being taught about in schools.

       A movement behind Purity Culture is behind the US Government funding “abstinence-only sex education” in schools.

It is where you teach kids are only about the basic physical mechanics of sex while having to abstain from doing so until marriage. And then this purity culture conveniently defines marriage in a narrow way that excludes the gay population.

     There is similar pressure upon schools to limit climate change education to explaining the physical description of what happens without ascribing causation of it to human activity. Under this denialist culture, teachers and thus students would have to “abstain” from making any connections of human involvement in climate change analogous to promoting abstinence from sexual activity by not teaching about it.


Particularly up until 1975, thousands of Americans lost their government jobs just for being suspected as gay. And today the Trump administration uses similar authoritarian marginalization against government employees who speak and document the truth about climate disruption. And the Trump admin has once again government job protections against LGBTQ discrimination. Censorship against climate scientists somewhat resembles the “public morality raids” the authorities used against the gay population decades ago. The sense of how it is dangerous for climate hawk government employees to express ourselves is very parallel to the societal messages telling the LGBTQ population to just hide in the dark where we can’t be seen.

The stonewalling of investigations into the bad behavior of Exxon (and other intentionally deceptive climate criminals), calls upon us to launch a new Stone Wall Rebellion and a “We don’t have to take it anymore!” flashpoint.


A number of the terms used to classify subtypes within the gay community happen to be the names of animals in the arctic environments: Polar Bears, Sea otters, Arctic wolves, Pups, Cubs


While I acted as heteronormative at the time, coming out as an environmentalist lent me much the same emotional experience that coming out as gay would have at an all-guys boarding school.

No matter how well-researched and sound what I expressed, these bullies chided ecological awareness and passions as if it were a deviant orientation. The social norm was that students were supposed to ascribe to their individual self-interest, and environmental awareness was introducing a form of collectivism. By promoting recycling, the opposition projected an image upon me of being a zealot evangelist who will not letting individuals think for themselves, when that restrictiveness much more accurately described the opposition who basically forbids thinking and acting in collective interests. I refer to it as the Neo-Liberal “straight” Jacket.  Rugged individualists treat collectivism as a deviant orientation, that is dangerous with much the same tone and fervor as how anti-gay bigots cast the LBGTQ population as dangerous, deviant and needing to be restrained. Similar to Anti-LBGTQ blowback, none of the bullies who intimidated my recycling would offer a rational reason that makes sense but is purely reactive.

Pursuing narrow self-interest is considered “acting rational” and the normative thing to do, accepted in the same way as heteronormativity is accepted as the default normal. It is not a perfect analogy because heteronormativity is not actively harmful.

But there is a strong analogy between strict neo-liberals condemning the intentionally planning for the greater good of all as being a deviant collectivist orientation; or simply an abomination against the natural order of how things are supposed to be.

These bullies presented not caring about the good of our planet as a whole felt directly hurtful like being the brunt of anti-gay bullying. Anyone who liked me in that somewhat hypothetical situation didn’t want to be seen hanging out with me due to fear of being bullied themselves.


Ocean Acidification and other climate disruption caused displacement of animal, plant and human life is hauntingly parallel to LGBTQ youth being banished from home and or church.

      The environment which displaced LGBTQ youth relied upon while growing up hence no longer provides. It is analogous to how an acidifying oceanic environment no longer provides for the coral reef habitats, where acidification represents and environment that is less than open and accepting.  The climate deniers would explain away “acidificH8tion” as part of some natural cycle rather than being human caused. Likewise, someone who is ant-gay would explain away homophobic social environments as just naturally the way things are or are meant to be. Both serve as justifications for doing nothing to address either anti-gay exclusion or climate disaster mitigation.

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