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.