Solving the climate crisis means standing in solidarity with the most vulnerable and marginalized. Gender and climate lenses can and must be better utilized–together–in government planning to ensure that development outcomes are truly inclusive and resilient. Solidarity is not a passive stance. Among the most important steps allies can take is to help articulate conditions of marginalization along with how important central democracy is to fully face the climate crisis, so that the most vulnerable and marginalized among us can do more than just survive. They must be among the first to thrive in the climate-constrained future.
The LGBTQIA community confronts impacts of ostracism, discrimination, and prejudice that communities living on the frontlines of the climate crisis know too well, having been subjected to similar periods of exclusion, violence, and exploitation. Denied similar access to development opportunities available to many, and sidelined as infrastructure programs, economic strategies and social service initiatives are drawn up with little regard to minority rights. Marginalized communities bear climate change impacts just as disproportionately as low income households have been made to shoulder the climate emergency’s heavy burden.
Members of the LGBTQIA community also struggle against homelessness, harassment and abuse, and hatred, just because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. And they breathe the same debilitating polluted air that the rest of us do when government fails to implement the spectacularly outdated 2005 air quality standards that urgently need updating, and which are causing the annual economic hemorrhage of at least 23 percent of the country’s GDP yearly.
The need to generate more data, and to focus research initiatives on the climate-induced risks faced by the LGBTQIA community, has never been more urgent. Whether the threat comes from episodic weather extremes or slow onset effects brought about by the changing climate, it is vital that society takes steps to make the invisible visible in order to establish social inclusion metrics that can indicate progress, or the lack thereof, in dramatically reducing social and climate change fueled vulnerabilities. Society can and must benefit as well from the contributions the LGBTQIA community can provide when the marginalized are able to harness and mobilize their own sense of agency as citizens campaign together to eradicate social stigma, misogyny, gender blindness, and poverty and re-build communities where inclusion, diversity, love, and solidarity are ascendant.
To face climate change is to confront–and to overcome together–the multiple oppressions marginalized communities grapple with daily, in particular trans and queer people in the Philippines and abroad.
We are Here for Queers. Let’s fly the rainbow banner high.