Category: Climate Queer

Precious Brady-Davis and queer climate change action

HuffPost has a beautiful article featuring Precious Brady-Davis. It is written by Alexander C Kaufman.

Precious Brady-Davis Is Connecting The Dots: Climate change is affecting every social justice struggle. The environmental movement’s best-known trans woman of color wants to make that link clear.

Brady-Davis, 33, is perhaps the most visible transgender woman of color in the climate movement today. She’s part of a new generation of environmentalists unmoored from the Patagonia-clad treehugger archetype and radicalized by global warming’s exacerbation of society’s worst inequities. As once-disparate social movements are awakening to climate change’s ubiquity, Brady-Davis, a top press secretary for the Sierra Club, is drawing on her roots as a queer African American from a pious family in a deep-red, rural state to build bridges over troubled and rising waters.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in exploring the intersections of climate change with human rights, social justice, LGBTQ issues, and gender.

The connections between climate change and gender are becoming clearer as the frequency and intensity of warming-fueled natural disasters increase. Women made up 70% of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami since they were trapped in their homes while men were out in the open, according to the United Nations. Sexist hiring practices and work cultures make it more difficult for women to support themselves during droughts or after disasters. The U.N. estimates 80% of those displaced by climate change are women.

The article rightly goes on to highlight the risks to LGBTQ people but also the many ways we have had to be resilient in the past. These lessons are essential on a changing planet.

There’s a lot for the climate movement to borrow from the more militant early era of the fight for LGBTQ rights, said Sean Estelle, a gender-nonconforming climate activist in Chicago. The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, emerged in the 1980s in response to the federal government’s inaction in the face of thousands of mostly gay men dying after contracting HIV. The movement pioneered die-in protests and amplified apocalyptic rhetoric to finally spur action from federal lawmakers who at times mocked AIDS victims and suggested the virus was a biblical punishment for the sin of same-sex attraction.

Whenever I talk to people about queer responses to climate change, I find the energy shifts and people really take notice.  Read the entire article for yourself to learn more about Precious’ background and how she became someone concerned about climate with a queer lens.

Also to learn more about what you can do to engage in queer climate action, check out Save the Unicorn! LGBTQ Response to Climate Change.

Photos by Annie Flanagan

Fleeing the FF Lifestyle 

Many years ago when I attended a special camp designed to make me straight, (long story,) I was told that I had to abstain from all FI behavior. FI stands for false image. They taught us that gays hid behind masks. We had to strip these off to be a true selves.

It didn’t quite make sense for me though l to be a pretend heterosexual In order to be my true self.

But lately I’ve been thinking about the FF lifestyle–The Fossil Fuel. This is the lifestyle that has dominated our world for over 100 years. It has polluted our air and our waterways. It is time to repent.

Even for people who don’t think we need to act to address climate change, there are many compelling reasons to reduce fossil fuel pollution.

In the USA people experience pollution inequity. If you are a person of color, you will experience more pollution than most white people. Many incinerators, power plants, and refineries are located in communities where amajority of black and brown people living right up against the pollution production facilities.

Yes we need energy to live. We need electricity. We need to keep our homes warm or cool. There’s no need to strip down and live the simplest life possible. We can be innovative and smart about how we create and share energy.

Drawling on old time religion, I’m sending out a call for us to repent from our flamboyant fossil fuel lifestyles. We can  go in a whole new direction.

It’s time for new heavens and a new earth

Repent! Of your flamboyant fossil fuel lifestyle. A word from Elizabeth Jeremiah

As a preacher, Elizabeth Jeremiah is willing to use pretty much any topic if it will help her make a point. In her latest video she expounds on the dangers of a generational curse, and to do this, she uses the example of fossil fuel pollution, which is a stock pollutant. It stays up in the atmosphere for up to a hundred years.

It may sound silly, but this preacher lady has some profound points to make. AND she is assisted by some adorable pugs!

Enjoy Elizabeth Jeremiah, curses, and pugs

Yet another view of Joseph in Genesis

A bit of a brat, Joseph takes his place above his brothers

A bit of a brat, Joseph takes his place above his brothers

Not your usual Bible interpretation

I have long been fascinated by the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis. A very moving tale, I see a big wonderful thread of gender non-conforming behavior by Joseph and his father, Isaac/Israel.

I include Joseph in my Transfigurations play and have shared my gender outlaw version of the story in many venues. Back in 2012 I shared it with Quakers in New England

Joseph and Climate Change??

Over at the Climate Stew site we are always looking at new angles to help unpack the climate crisis. Our roving commentator, Marvin Bloom, has a new video in which he considers the story of Joseph in Genesis. It has so many twists and turns–intrigue, betrayal, miracles, migrants, and a massive drought.

In a large, blended family, Joseph is the favored younger son. This gets him into trouble with his older brother, especially after he had been lording it over them. They get rid of him by shipping him off to Egypt as a slave.

Joseph sold into slavery

Joseph sold into slavery

Joseph find favor and Trouble in Egypt

There he also find favor and trouble which lands him in jail. But due to his ability to interpret dreams, he is hauled out of prison and dragged before Pharaoh. He interprets Pharaoh’s troubling dreams and predicts temporary, regional climate change. He then offers an adaptation plan to help address the crisis and feed the people.

Joseph feeds the people, but at a cost

Joseph feeds the people, but at a cost

Everything turns out just as Joseph predicted, and the people have enough food to eat. Ah, but was there a major flaw in Joseph’s plan? Marvin thinks so, and feels we can learn something important from it.

How can we develop effective and just plans?

As we consider the ways to respond to our climate crisis, it helps to look at an ancient story about what they get right and what they got wrong. In trying to do good we may open up the door to injustice and oppression. Well, I’ll let Marvin speak for himself.

Fierce, Fearless, Frolicking Unicorns in Paris

Last month I had the privilege of connecting with Cy, a queer guy from Paris who after reading my essay about Queer Responses to Climate Change and seeing the many ways that LGBTQ people are engaging in climate action, decided to do something connect to the Paris climate talks. He and his comrades have been quite busy organizing events to educate people and to organize actions. He sent me the following message he asked me to share. You will also see images from their action this weekend in Paris. So much glitter, so little time!



Cy, the unicorn on the right.

I am Cy, one of the lead organizers of LGBTI pour le Climat, a movement fighting for climate and social justice in Paris.

Since we are keenly aware that minorities are often the first victims of social, political, economical or climate crisis, we consider the negotiations of the COP 21 not only as a crucial moment to show solidarity with the frontline communities impacted by climate change but also as a way of participating to this global mobilization alongside other groups.

We strongly believe in the necessity for the COP21 to reach a justly negotiated agreement and meet a 2°C goal before ecological catastrophes become a routine endangering not only Earth itself and its resources but also what is important to us : social justice, peace and equal rights for a diversity of people.

Although there were alternative funding options for the French government, the COP 21 has been mostly financed by some of the most controversial French corporations and banks like :

EDF and Engie, France’s main energy producer responsible for over 50% of the country’s total carbon emissions half of which come from coal plants.

Air France who is opposed to the cut of emissions in the aviation sector,

Renault-Nissan who is producing cars that emit extremely high levels of pollution.

BNP Paribas, a French bank who has been supporting the use and extraction of coal and refuses to leave tax havens.

12294662_1082851291727721_7268106014306438344_nThe rest of this list is too long for this e-mail, but it raises serious doubts about the role corporate partners play during the COP (similar concerns were raised during the COP19) and their ability to greenwash freely and appear as solutions for ecological transitions without much accountability.

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, all marches and demonstrations surrounding COP21 have been prohibited.

In light of these increased security measures and limitations around demonstrations, we are turning to other strategies to channel the positive energy and momentum that has been building over the past few weeks.

We have instead decided to launch a global operation from November 29th to December 12th called:

« It’s a Kind of Magic » #ItsaKindofMagic.

Relying upon traditionally queer tactics, we will be staging visibility opportunities around Paris to draw attention to the economic and industrial system which is directly responsible for climate problems.

This operation encapsulates the very convergence that we have been trying to elevate as an LGBTI organization engaged in the movement to address climate change.

Members of LGBTI pour le Climat will travel across Paris fabulously, dressed up as unicorns, faeries, witches, mermaids, drag queens in order to make the power of our own magic count in the broader climate change conversations happening next week.

The aim being to stop in front of one significant location and perform an action there :

a location whose name is immediately linked to climate change (e.g. a metro station, a street like «Rue du Pôle Nord» in Paris )

who is or has been visibly impacted by climate change (i.e. physical landmarks in your communities that embody the negative impacts of climate change)

or, even better, an institution financing fossil fuels, tar sands industries, or big polluters like Total, Shell depending on the countries where you live.


* Spread the word. Share our operation with your networks, to your constituencies.

* Join in the magic. Whether or not you’ll be in Paris, participate in our #ItsaKindofMagic operation by taking your own photos and/or videos at locations in your own communities to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and call out your decision makers who will be participating in the negotiations.

* Share our work, our facebook page, our articles in order to keep raising awareness on these essential issues.

I would welcome the opportunity to find some time to touch base by phone or over Skype to talk about ways our organizations could work together to elevate the LGBTI perspective during these critical climate conversations in Paris. 

I know the next few days might be challenging given the Thanksgiving holiday, but if you happen to have a free 20 minutes this coming weekend or even early next week, I’d love the chance to connect.


Lead organizer of LGBTI pour le Climat,



There is something so queer about Climate Change

About two years ago I began asking an odd and intriguing question: What is a Queer Response to Climate Change? Wow, what a rich query (queery?) that keeps me thinking, learning, and speaking.

So what are some queer responses to climate change? Last September as I prepared to trudge along with the People’s Climate Pride Parade, (um, March) I wrote a Huffington Post piece: Why on Earth is this Gay Guy Marching for Climate? Then in February at the Creating Change conference, I got together with colleagues to explore diverse queer responses to climate change.

In considering the question, I look at my own weird queer experience (17 years trying to de-gay myself for Jesus) and how that coming out story is directly connected to coming out as someone concerned about climate. The connection with climate change and my queer journey is not about bears (though bears are hot) or polar bears (those adorably vicious creatures), but about equality. I explain:

In studying climate change, I was shocked to learn that globally these rapid changes on earth affect women more than men. They also affect people of color more than white folks (even in the US.) That made me wonder: Does climate change affect LGBTQ people more than cisgender heterosexuals? It just might, particularly when it comes to housing.

In looking at Climate Change I also began to wonder if LGBTQ folks are uniquely positioned to help the world face this crisis and address it. In speaking with Rev. Nancy Wilson of the Metropolitan Community Church, I learned about our queer ancestor’s responses to the HIV/AIDS Crisis and lessons from that plague that will be valuable to us as we face the current and growing climate crisis.

Using comedy and one of my favorite characters from my shows, Marvin Bloom, I dug in deeper to queer responses to climate change and the resiliency that transgender, bisexual, queer, lesbian, and gay folks have developed through so many challenges over the years and still today.

No doubt Climate Change is serious, but I believe it is an absolute privilege to live right now on this changing planet. In my imagination I spend time in the future considering all the amazing ways LGBTQ people will respond to the climate crisis. I muse on how we will respond to the needs of LGBTQ youth.

On stage, I continue to explore queer responses to climate change. Also over on my podcast this has become a regular theme. It comes up regularly over dinner or as I travel around on the train or chat online.

I can’t seem to get enough of this topic right now and would love to hear your thoughts.

What are some of your thoughts about LGBTQ people/history/cultures/experience and climate change?

What are some connections you are beginning to see?

drag queen anger