Climate Justice needs Lesbian* Justice

Marginalized people have always been at the frontlines of social progress. On average, queer people are far more likely to join climate causes than straight people. This is an important consideration for climate activists. Providing a space for discussion and sharing ideas between peers may be critical in increasing engagement in climate change action. But often the perspectives of LBTI women are being left out of the environmental movement and vice versa. That’s why we decided to organise a workshop on EcoLesbianism at the EL*C in Budapest.

This year’s EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community conference, “Lesbian Resistance,” took place in Budapest, at the premises of the recently forbidden Central European  University. Hundreds of lesbians* from all over the world gathered from 29 September till October 1st. Two weeks after Serbia initially banned EuroPride 2022, the latest in a two-year spate of attacks on Pride marches and other queer events in Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey.

The EL*C conference and DykeMarch was organised amid ongoing government harassment of lesbian activism in Hungary. In February, an appeals court ruled against Labrisz Lesbian Association, finding that an article in a pro-government newspaper likening lesbian activists to pedophiles did not injure their reputation. This reversed a lower court decision, which deemed the article to be unfounded and offensive.In June 2021, a Hungarian law criminalized showing “any content portraying or promoting sex reassignment or homosexuality” to children, falsely conflating LGBT rights with pedophilia. In August 2021, a government decree restricted customer access to the children’s book “A Fairytale for Everyone”, published by Labrisz Lesbian Association in 2020, under a new requirement that children’s books seen to “promote homosexuality” be sold only in “closed wrapping.” The Labrisz book retells traditional fairytales with queer, feminist characters.

The EL*C conference and DykeMarch take an intersectional approach, demanding rights for migrants, refugees, Roma communities, and other minority groups. As such, organizers could be at risk vis-a-vis Hungary’s sweeping criminalization in 2018 of migrant and refugee rights defenders. That law, condemned by several United Nations Special Rapporteurs and held by the Court of Justice of the European Union to violate EU law, remains in effect.

Queer EcoActivism

When it comes to ecoactivism, queer folks have been making significant contributions to the climate justice movement since Rachel Carson, wrote Silent Spring. A landmark piece of ecological journalism, Silent Spring was Carson’s warning to the world about the dangers of pesticides on an ecosystem. Silent Spring’s impact led to a U.S. ban on substances like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Her work raised widespread awareness in the 1960s about the long-lasting negative impact that human activity can have on nature; thanks to her, the public came to understand that it had a right to know what was happening to the environment, and to react to the early warning signs of climate change accordingly.

Recent climate protests shine a light on how marginalized groups are most impacted by rising temperatures and sea levels, along with stronger and more frequent storms and wildfires. In the US up to 40 % of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQIA, making them particularly vulnerable to climate disasters. Queer representation in the environmental movement not only centres these experiences but also has the power to change the narrative around humans’ relationship to nature: from people domineering over the environment to living in tandem with all living organisms.

Climate Justice needs Gender Justice

The climate crisis concerns us all, but we do not all contribute equally to it. And we are not all equally affected by its impacts. In most cases, LBTI women* and people with lower incomes as well as people from the political global south behave in a less climate-damaging way, but already suffer more from the consequences of the climate crisis. The same applies to climate change mitigation measures – these also have an unequal impact on people from different backgrounds. Experience also shows that certain climate protection measures are critical for LGBTIQ* people and can have a negative impact on them. WECF therefore calls for climate protection measures to be socially and gender-just and designed worldwide.





Climate Justice needs Lesbian Justice!

In the workshop, we addressed the different ways in which people are affected by the consequences of climate change and by climate policy. Using practical examples, we will show how climate justice is connected to LGBTIQ+ and gender justice – and how queer activism can help the fight for climate justice.