How climate change affects LGBTIQ+ community?

How are climate change and LGBTIQ+ community related? If you don’t know or you would like to learn more, this blog post is for you! 

It is already a well known fact that climate change will affect us all globally. However, it will not treat us equally. The impacts of climate change will be most striking in the developing nations because of their

  1. Geographical and climatic conditions
  2. High dependence on natural resources
  3. Limited capacity to adapt to a changing climate

In addition, climate change will have a deeper impact on those who are already marginalised in societies including LGBTIQ+ people. Globally, the marginalised people in poor countries are very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

This is one of the reasons why we at UseLess Company felt it was important to take a stand and participate in Pride as a micro partner. Through this blog post we would like to share knowledge of the effects of climate on LGBTIQ+ communities. However, there seems to be little academic studies conducted on the matter and more research is definitely required, but here are some facts we have gathered so far.

Why sexual and gender minorities are globally vulnerable to the effects of climate change?

Discrimination might increase as climate change threatens internationally guaranteed human rights. On-going discrimination of minorities makes it difficult for them to cope with the impacts of climate change, even though “basic human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination require action to address and remedy the disproportionate impacts of climate change on the most marginalised and to ensure that climate actions benefit persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations and reduce inequalities” (OHCHR). For example one report indicate that many trans people from New Orleans and surrounding areas who were evacuated during Katrina faced discrimination while living in shelters. 

Exclusion, violence and exploitation might threaten LGBTIQ+ communities even more than today as weather-related crises caused by climate change will likely worsen global poverty, hunger and hinder access to natural resources, which stokes societal instability and violence. IPCC released in their AR5 Synthesis Report an excellent graphic that illustrates the regional key risks for physical, biological, human and managed systems that are threatened by climate change. The report was released already in 2014, but we do believe that information provided is still up-to-date. 

These weather-related crises will also probably increase the amount of displaced people globally, many of whom suffer from sexual and gender-based violence. LGBTIQ+ people are already vulnerable to exclusion, violence and exploitation because of the cumulative impacts of social stigma and hatred. If they are forced to flee from their homes due to natural disasters, it will probably put LGBTIQ+ people in an even more vulnerable position.

Homelessness is more common among LGBTIQ+ young people than among their non-LGBTIQ+ peers. For example in UK 24% and in the US 40% of homeless young people identify themselves as LGBT. There are several reasons for homelessness but many young people fear that they might lose the support of their family members or even be evicted from home, if they express their LGBTIQ+ identity openly. Homelessness would and will make them particularly vulnerable to the extreme weather events caused by climate change.

Family support and LGBTQ+ young
Source: The LGBTQ+ youth homelessness report 2021

What can you do to help?

  • Fight against climate change! Try to decrease the carbon footprint of every action you take both in work life and personal life.
  • Learn more about the impacts that climate change has on the environment, but also keep in mind the societal and economical impacts. Share the information and try to convince others to take action.
  • Donate to organisations that fight against climate change and support non-discrimination, equality, diversity and inclusivity.
  • Connect with other people who share the same concerns of the future development. Together we are stronger and we can make a difference!

Sources:

Akt: The LGBTQ+ youth homelessness report 2021

Anuj Behal: How climate change is affecting the LGBTQIA+ community (Down to Earth)

IPCC: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. 

IPPC: Regional key risks and potential for risk reduction

Friends of the Earth Scotland: Why Climate Change is an LGBTQ+ Issue

Jamie Seaton: Homeless rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference (Washington Post)

Michael K. Lavers: Gulf Coast’s LGBT residents mark Katrina anniversar (Washington blade America’s LGBTQ News Source)

Poverty and Climate Change Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor through Adaptation

Rachel Baird: The Impact of Climate Change on Minorities and Indigenous People (OHCHR)

The Big Issue: Why are so many young LGBT people in Britain homeless?

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: Understanding Human Rights and Climate Change

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons

UN News Global perspective Human stories: Climate change link to displacement of most vulnerable is clear: UNHCR

1 thought on “How climate change affects LGBTIQ+ community?”

  1. Based on what little is known about the unique experiences of LGBTQI individuals and communities during disaster relief and recovery, major policy changes and new paradigms are necessary to adequately prepare and protect all genders. Additionally, much more research is necessary to understand how climate change is affecting people based on multiple intersections of identity. The invisibility of LGBTQI persons is a major part of their vulnerability, and much is dependent on context.

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