I imagine many people cannot see a connection between Climate Change and LGBTQ Human Rights. While many queer folks do not deny the reality of Climate Change (even if we cannot yet grasp what a huge issue it is and will be) we have not yet considered the ways that Climate Change may well lead to an erosion of LGBTQ rights. Seems farfetched?
According to a recent UN study, scientists believe that the effects of Global Warming will make the world more violent, particularly in poorer areas of the planet most affected.
With millions of people forced to move each year by rapid-onset climate-related hazards and slow-onset environmental degradation, social wellbeing, human rights, economies and even state stability are at risk…at the highest level, climate change is being assessed as a risk to national security and potentially to global stability.
This makes sense. Fewer resources due to famine, water shortages, and natural disasters along with climate refugees flooding in and out of countries create conditions for strife. What about the LGBTQ people who already experience oppression from their governments and fellow citizens?
In 1984 long before Climate Change was on most people’s radar, Gayle Rubin wrote:
To some, sexuality may seem to be an unimportant topic, a frivolous diversion from the more critical problems of poverty, war, disease, racism, famine, or nuclear annihilation. But it is precisely at times such as these, when we live with the possibility of unthinkable destruction, that people are likely to become dangerously crazy about sexuality.
Besides the erosion of existing rights and the likelihood that we will get scapegoated for climate change (Haven’t we been blamed enough for severe weather??) we are facing a world where basic needs–food, water, housing–will be threatened in many regions. Marriage equality, hate crime legislation, and workplace protection along with other LGBTQ rights issues are of course important, but if we are not forward thinking and do not recognize the time we are in, these advances may amount to little more than redecorating the Titanic as it sinks into the sea.