Climate Voices

August 23, 2019
By: Sarah Goodspeed, Senior Policy Manager

Climate Change is a Drag

Last week, our Climate Change is a Drag show — a community builder and fundraiser in partnership with OutFront Minnesota — got people hot and bothered about climate change.

Hosted at Troubadour Wine Bar, home to the weekly Queerdo show, our evening’s emcee The Other Jeanie Retelle guided us through a journey of climate-themed performances. The event was brought to life by the incredible lineup of Junior High, Julia Starr, Bad Karma, and the Queerdo cast Sissy Tops, Trisha Spectacle, and Seamus Shenanigan. Performances to songs like “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls, “Burning Up” by Jessie J, “Storm Warning” by Hunter Hayes, and so many more hinted at climate change impacts happening around the world.

Climate Generation stands in unity and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re committed to elevating community voices and intersectional solutions to climate change. OutFront Minnesota is creating a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.

We are so honored to partner with them — hosting a drag show was not only a small opportunity to fundraise for both of our organizations, but also a moment to build community and raise awareness about how these issues are connected.

Our partners stated clearly that queer liberation is intertwined with climate justice, which is why the work of OutFront Minnesota is vital to the success of our mission here at Climate Generation.

Climate change affects many communities differently, but the challenges of those already experiencing socioeconomic discrimination and environmental racism are amplified by climate impacts.

LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to lack safe and stable housing, turned out from their families and often without employment protections. Forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+ and are among those first exposed to extreme weather like heat, storms, and flooding. Coastal cities like San Francisco, Miami, and New York that have historically built safe LGBTQ+ communities are at risk of rising sea levels and hurricanes. Residents in cities across the country depend on police for emergency services who have a history of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, and queer and trans people have been turned away from shelters. LGBTQ+ individuals experience reduced access to and discrimination from health care providers, who are critical in dealing with increased exposure to pollution in our air and water, increased climate-linked diseases and stressors, and other health impacts.

We applaud the LGBTQ+ folks leading on solutions to climate change, having the hard conversations, working across communities, learning and growing as a movement to center those most impacted. LGBTQ+ communities have been forced to move and create new homes and communities in order to survive. We know the challenges of migration, whether to another city or another country, and how to rebuild and start over. We know how to create supportive and interdependent communities, the antidote to a world that exploits and dehumanizes as it exploits the earth and monetizes natural resources.

We know how to have hard conversations as we come out to our friends and family, similar to how it can feel to speak out on climate change and challenge those around us to take action. We must work together to create a new world that is radically different from the one we know today.

Future generations may not know the challenges queer elders faced as they have fought for our ability to live and love. Future generations will also never know what a “typical” summer or winter feels like, as we continue to fight for their survival on a planet with human-caused global warming.

As we build a future that is resilient to climate change, we must transform the systems for resilience for all communities, especially at the intersections of greatest impact.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I and many of us know and own queer liberation as a mirror of the climate movement; we come from all communities and across identities. Climate change affects all of us, especially for those at multiple intersections of identities and experiences. I am so grateful for all the partners and friends who attended this event, and we are excited to plan another Climate Change is a Drag show in the future to continue to elevate these issues and build community for queer liberation and climate justice.