A Queer Response to Climate Change — SUNY Cortland

Event Details

 A Queer Response to Climate Change

Comic and LGBTQ activist Peterson Toscano takes on the biggest issue of them all–global warming–and does so with humor, heart, and with a view to saving the humans. Drawing on his hilarious characters, Peterson makes connections between LGBTQ issues, environmental justice, and climate change. Filled with hope, Peterson will give you a positive vision of the future as he inspires you to take your role in it.

Peterson will take part in the New York State for Sustainability in Higher Education Conference held at SUNY Cortland on November 15 and 16, 2017

img_0133During the performance Peterson will expertly weaves in the story of Walt Whitman, who in his 30s was adrift in life and art until he had a soul shaking experience that jarred him into becoming the most inventive poet of the 19th Century. But he didn’t stop growing and coming out. Another jarring experience transformed Whitman into a loving nurse tending the wounded young Civil War soldiers.

Discover your role on our new earth and learn how LGBTQ folks and communities already have experiences and resources that we can draw on in the midst of our current and growing climate crisis. It’s time for the ultimate makeover!

Peterson writes about Whitman’s ability to time travel, something Peterson does in this presentation–right before your eyes.

This lively lecture includes live performance and addresses multiple issues including:

  • Climate Change as a human rights issue
  • Facing Extinction: Lessons learned from HIV/AIDS activism
  • Transitioning bodies, Transforming spaces
  • Queer households training society to live in community
  • LGBTQ Rights in the midst of political disorder
  • Queer intersection of women’s issues, immigration, and climate change
  • It’s NOT just about the children–moving beyond a heteronormative climate message

Read a review of Peterson’s performance: Sexuality, Mindfulness, and Climate Change, from The Campus Paper, Allegheny College

Read his HuffPost piece, Save the Unicorn–LGBTQ Responses to Climate Change

Peterson Toscano led a transformative lunch-time discussion exploring the intersection between race, justice, and climate change, focusing on environmental racism in disaster relief efforts. From beginning to end, Peterson made Bates students feel welcomed, supported, and hopeful - a task nearly impossible when discussing the climate crisis. Peterson Toscano, a true beam of light, touched hearts and minds as he equipped Bates students with the rhetorical tactics and perspective necessary to create a more equitable world, and for that we are so thankful!

Zsofia Duarte
, Bates College Student, Environmental Politics major


He does such a good job at taking really big and scary issues … and is able to present them in a way that is accessible. One of the best things his talks are able to do is focus on the intersections of people’s identities and social justice issues, and not a lot of people are able to do that.

Justin Adkins
, Allegheny College, Associate Dean and Director of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Social Justice Center


Through the lens of relatable, endearing and hilarious characters we found ourselves considering the intersections between LGBTQ justice and climate change, what we can learn from the LGBTQ struggle for justice and the infinite resources available to us through these relationships.

Erin Pratt
, Program Director, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light


Peterson is the curator of the Climate Stew website, which through articles, video, and audio takes a serious look at global warming without scaring the snot out of you. Hear a sample here:

Check out Peterson’s blog and some of his pieces on a Queer Response to Climate Change:

Does This Climate Change Activism Make Me Look Straight?

And Ain’t I a Queer? LGBTQ Human Rights and Global Warming.

goats meme


Act up global warming

drag queen anger

save heterosexuals

queer recycle

I have had the chance to see Peterson Toscano perform several times in Sweden. His work makes a big impact on me every time I see it. He has an ability as an actor to entertain, and at the same time, he gets the audience to really reflect on complicated issues. He then invokes the desire to make a change. His writing is political, but at the same time very personal as he manages to weave the two things together to bring his audience to knowledge that matters to everyone.

Alex Resare
, Audience Member, Umeå, Sweden


Peterson Thomas Toscano brings a wonderful sense of characterization and depth of emotion to his work. It is funny, engaging, and deeply thought-provoking.

Elizabeth Levin
, Audience Member


For the past decade, Peterson Toscano has dug deeply into the intersection of faith and queer culture, coming up with pieces that are incisive, explanatory, thoughtful, kind to all parties, and moving. He has paired these performances with lectures and discussions that draw in viewers of all sorts of backgrounds, getting them to truly engage with the material.

Ben Guaraldi
, Filmmaker



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