6 Queer Activists We Love –and you should too!

Pride Month has arrived. While we celebrate the victories and look forward to what the future holds for the LGBTQ+ community, we should always recognize how we got here. The queer community certainly has not had it easy. In the face of unrelenting discrimination, unjust laws, societal exclusion and a lack of government protection, we proudly fought (and continue to fight) for equal rights. In the past two years, a multitude of anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being introduced in state legislatures. 8 discriminatory laws have already been enacted. Queer Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) face racial discrimination on top their inequalities from being in the LGBTQ+ community.

 Yet, through all the hardship the LGBTQ+ community encounters, they are not only resilient, but through music, fashion, art, science and culture, have often moved society forward. So now, with our climate in crises mode and younger activists taking on the voice and challenge to do something about it, is it any wonder that a new group of queer activists (social justice being inextricable from environmental justice, human exploitation explicitly linked to resource devastation) have arrived loud and proud on the scene.  Here are six queer activists that we love and follow. And think you should too 🙂

Pattie Gonia

Who said drag queens can’t go green? “Intersectional environmentalism lets us weave in our humanity, our culture, our queerness and our color, into environmental work. We tell ourselves that all these issues are separate, but I think the magic happens when you intersect one thing with another. If you look at any space where people are making change, you will find queer people. You will find people of color. You will find indigenous people. And you’ll find women,” explains Patti Gonia (aka the photographer and queer activist Wyn Wiley).

From the first time they put on their 6” heels on a Rocky Mountain hike, Pattie found a way to use their drag persona to bring awareness about climate change whilst also calling attention to the relationship between the queer community and nature. Wary of personal attention, Pattie challenges us to think about intersectionality and how climate plays a role in our communities. By using humor, funny memes, home-made signs (“the planet is hotter than my boyfriend”) laughter and love, the hard work of climate justice –through Pattie’s eyes– becomes just a little easier.


Jamie Margolin

19-year-old Jamie Margolin is a queer climate activist and co-founder of Zero Hour, an international youth climate justice movement. Zero Hour uplifts the voices of youth to call out the insufficient protection the environment faces due to the lack of initiatives from elected officials. Margolin started with outrage at this inaction. And she turned it into a movement. She organized a youth climate march on Washington attended by thousands of students and has stood alongside Greta Thunberg to testify in front of the US Congress about actions needed. Her resilience is inspiring and we are excited to see the work she continues to do.

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Queer Brown Vegan (Isaias Hernandez)

Environmental educator Isaias Hernandez created Queer Brown Vegan, as a safe space to learn about environmentalism, veganism and zero waste practices. Isaias keeps us informed on environmental injustices and the zero waste movement. In our interview Isaias with us he talks about how his role as an environmentalist and educator goes beyond teaching what he knows.

“I understand that as an environmentalist there are way worse situations happening in other communities that I honestly cannot even speak on behalf of and so I think that its only right for me to center those conversations for them,” he said. “And really looking at if you are being an ally or a bridge builder while ensuring that your own positionality in life has meaning to you and to the work and to the people around you.”

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Johanna Toruño

If you’ve been to big cities like NYC, D.C and Richmond, you may have seen Toruño’s art without knowing it. Johanna Toruño is a queer Latinx and the founder of the Unapologetic Street Series. Born in the middle of a civil war in El Salvador and taken to the US at the age of 10, her journey hasn’t been the smoothest. Yet even with all the adversity she faced, Toruño found a way to express herself through street art. On the streets of cities she visits she creates posters and murals challenging ideas of race, sexuality and identity. She unapologetically lets the world know how she’s feeling and pushes us to think deeper. Love it or hate it, no one can deny that her street art makes a statement that provokes and inspires.

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Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd

Queer indigenous activist, Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd, is the co-founder of Queer Nature. Queer Nature is a queer-run nature education and ancestral skills program serving their local LGBTQ+ community. The program allows the LGBTQ+ community to find a way to create a closer connection. Pinar’s love for the environment and intersectionality between queerness and nature extends beyond their role at Queer Nature. They are a founding member of Intersectional Environmentalism (IE). An inclusive form of environmentalism that advocates for the protection of all people and the planet. They also are the trans ambassador of Native Women’s Wilderness and the 2020 recipient of Audubon National Society’s National Environmental Champion. Pinar strives to do what they can to positively impact the relationship between nature, the LGBTQ+ community and BIPOC and we are in complete support of it.

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Aletta Brady

Aletta Brady, a queer, non-binary activist, founded  Our Climate Voices, an award-winning social justice collective humanizing the climate crisis through story. It is a creative collective of young women, queer folks, BIPOC & disabled people. Their work also pushed them to become the youngest recipient to win the 2019 J.M.K Innovation Prize. An award based on “wildly creative solutions to social and environmental challenges.” Aletta advocates treating climate justice as a social justice issue, because at its root, it is. Marginalized communities face more environmental challenges with issues like air pollution and a higher risk of unsanitary water. Aletta has persisted on using their passion towards climate justice and storytelling to help make a difference for the better.

INSTAGRAM

–Janelle Sessoms


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