This pride month, our global 350.org team has written this blog about the Pride movement and some of our staff’s journey. In South Africa, a young climate activist, Gabriel Klaasen has written their own reflections on the link between climate justice and LGBTQ+ liberation. Gabriel writes below:
Over decades LGBTQ+ liberation movements around the world have always had BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People Of Colour) at the helm of the ship, specifically Black Trans Women and Black Trans femmes, ensuring that the rights of all are actualised. Yet unsurprisingly they are the people that are given the least love and protection, and are the ones to face the most harm. Why is this the case and why unsurprisingly? Because of the deep systemic racism people have toward BIPOC, and the prejudice for people in the LGBTQ+ community.
Obviously, this is a problem for very clear reasons, but the continued discrimination and oppression that the LGBTQ+ community faces affect many other movements in society because BIPOC LGBTQ+ do not live-in isolation from other injustices. In fact, they are more at risk than many who are selected to be the poster child of the injustice and the movements that come from them. It’s also clear how social injustice affects and links to the LGBTQ+ community and our struggles, but a less clear link is the one between our community and the climate justice movement. Many do not understand that without LGBTQ+ liberation with a focus on BIPOC and Disabled people, true climate justice cannot be achieved.
Currently, the way that the climate justice movement is viewed is through a cis-gendered non-disabled white heterosexual lens. The issues set at the forefront of the climate justice movement do not consider the struggles and realities of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ peoples, and Disabled people, which in itself is harmful because it leaves so many people behind. Also taking into account that there are literally Disabled BIPOC LGBTQ+ people.
If we are to truly achieve climate justice, we need to look at those most affected today and those who will continue to be affected as climate breakdown continues. The movement must be led by those most affected, in a similar way that the LGBTQ+ liberation movement should and has been led by the most affected. The Queer liberation movement understands that if Black Trans Disabled Women (who happen to be the most affected in the community) are finally treated equitably and if their lives are valued and protected, it immediately ensures that all injustices that other individuals in the community face are being covered and incorporated.
The same needs to happen with the Climate Justice Movement. The movement should be led by BIPOC, with the deep inclusion of LGBTQ+ people, Disabled people, Feminists along with other affected and marginalised communities that are courageously challenging and resisting homophobic and oppressive regimes. Once again taking into account that there are individuals who are apart of each group mentioned, and that not everything is in isolation – as many would have us believe.
That’s why this pride month and in all the other months to come we need to begin understanding that LGBTQ+ liberation is not only an environmental issue, but that without it, true climate justice is impossible.
Read more from Gabriel in this blog they wrote about Queer liberation and pride through an intersectional lens in South Africa.