LGTBQIA+ Environmentalists You Should Know
Apr 21, 2021 | Seattle Pride
In honor of Earth Day 2021 (April 22), we are highlighting a few LGBTQIA+ environmentalists you need to know — among the many incredible humans who are doing important work! Alongside strides in equal rights for all, the LGBTQIA+ community has been integral in conservation and environmental justice.
People who are more deeply affected by climate change and environmental impacts are in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities; people who are disproportionately affected by poverty and homelessness. Low income folks and people experiencing homelessness feel the effects of worsening weather, rising seas, air and water pollution more deeply than affluent communities. Without access to resources to escape a dangerous heat wave or cold snap, the inability to obtain affordable healthcare to treat asthma that has been set off due to polluted air, or reside in a home that isn’t built or maintained to withstand extreme weather events it is clear that climate change, poverty, and inequality are inextricably linked. This is why it’s important for us all to work together for a better future for our planet and our people. Here are a few people who have and/or are doing the work.
Dean Jackson is an urban farmer, in the historically Black Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, who founded Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG) -- a food sovereignty, racial and economic justice organization. The organization builds gardens and feeds neighbors in exchange for their time and help. They also engage in land and housing liberation which defends, preserves and increases Black-owned land in the gentrifying neighborhood. Jackson works to respond to the needs of the neighborhood and environmental justice.
Co-founder of Queer Nature, Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd stewards the LGBTQIA+ community through a nature education and and ancestral skills program. Through the program they facilitate nature-based workshops and immersions to build naturalist, handcraft, and ancestral skills while recognizing the colonial and indigenous histories of the land. Through Queer Nature, Pinar nurtures values of conservation and environmental justice.
You may have seen a backpacking drag queen on your Instagram feed, and her name is Pattie Gonia. The Eagle Scout shares messages of diversity and environmental advocacy with images of herself wearing 6 inch-heeled boots on a mountaintop. Pattie Gonia inspires all people to go outside and immerse themselves, especially people whose bodies may traditionally have been excluded from outdoor spaces.
A queer marine biologist, author, and conservationist, Rachel Carson is credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Following World War II, she wrote Silent Spring, in which she warned the public about the long-term effects of misusing pesticides. She called for change in how people viewed the earth and the natural world around them. Despite being attacked for her work, she spoke out and aimed to remind people that they too were a part of the ecosystem that would be affected by the damage we inflict. She testified before congress in 1963 to call for new policies to protect the environment and human health. Her legacy has inspired generations to continue to protect the world around us.
How You Can Help
We all play a role in the health of our environment and owe it to ourselves and our community to advocate for its health and wellbeing, which impacts our own. You can help by learning about, supporting, and joining environmental and outdoor organizations.
Have a Suggestion?
If you know of a great LGBTQIA+ environmentalist or organization doing amazing work for our environment please share them with us on Facebook and Instagram at @SeattlePride or on Twitter at @OurSeattlePride.