Climate justice for and by the queers: Intersections of climate, sexuality, and gender B

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Feminist Geographies Specialty Group, Queer and Trans Geographies Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 44
Organizers: Michael Mikulewicz, Neil Crawford
Chairs: Neil Crawford

Call for Submissions

In this session, we aim to explore the interconnections between climate, sexuality and gender further, and hope to do so through a uniquely geographical lens. We therefore invite abstracts that fall within – but are not circumscribed to – the following broad topics:
· Queer people’s adaptation capacity, vulnerability, and resilience to natural disasters and other climate-related impacts across the world
· New geographical perspectives on linking queerness and climate change/climate justice
· The relevance of queer geographies for addressing the climate emergency, at both theoretical and practical levels
· Past and current queer-inspired strategies and efforts for achieving the dual objective of climate justice and queer liberation
· Methodologies for conducting (geographical) research on these intersections

Please submit paper abstracts of up to 250 words to Michael Mikulewicz at by Wednesday, November 18. We will get back to all authors with a decision the following day. Please also provide your conference PIN with your abstract if you have already registered. This session will mostly likely take place online.


Over the last decade, social scientific literature on climate change, adaptation, and vulnerability has gradually embraced the importance of intersectionality (Kaijser & Kronsell, 2014; Sultana, 2014), understood in this context as an interaction of various axes of difference and its effects on the way in which different people experience climate change. As a result, climate justice scholarship and activism have made important connections between vulnerability to climate impacts on the one hand, and numerous social categories such as gender (almost exclusively understood as a dichotomy between cis-men and cis-women), race, class, colonial status, indigeneity, or age. However, sexuality and gender (understood as a fluid, non-binary concept) have remained relatively low on that list, with limited research on the relationship between queerness and climate change (Gaard, 2019; Vinyeta, Powys Whyte, & Lynn, 2015).

The existing literature on this topic, scant as it is, suggests that queerness and climate change do intersect on multiple plains. The most common linkage is found in the fact that queer people, by virtue of being one of society’s “devalued groups” (Pellow, 2016, p. 225), experience comparatively higher levels of vulnerability to climate impacts. This applies to both industrialized countries of the Global North, as evidenced by trans people having been subjected to discriminations in emergency shelters during Hurricane Katrina (Dominey-Howes, Gorman-Murray, & McKinnon, 2014; Randall, 2020) and disproportionate levels of homelessness among LGBTQ youth in big cities (Brady, Torres, & Brown, 2019; Goodwin, 2018), and in low- and middle-income countries of the Global South, as in the case of the well-documented exclusion of queer people from post-disaster response, relief and recovery (Balgos, Gaillard, & Sanz, 2012; Dwyer et al., 2018; Gaillard et al., 2017; IGLHRC & SEROvie, 2011; Rumbach & Knight, 2014; Thuringer, 2016).

However, defying this vulnerability-based and agency-depriving discourse, queer people have also actively fought for climate justice. First, queer and eco-feminist scholars and climate activists have developed new theoretical frameworks such as queer planetary ethic (Bauman 2018), queer ecology (Morton, 2010) and queer feminist climate justice (Gaard, 2019), critiqued the heteronormativity of adaptation (Djoudi et al., 2016; Somera, 2009), and linked the climate emergency to queer oppression, capitalism and colonialism (Pellow, 2016; Randall, 2020). They have also argued that queerness has much to offer to our fight for an equitable climate future, including queer people’s capacity for organizing – two out of three co-founders of BLM identifying as queer (Pellow, 2016) – and to respond to disasters (Balgos et al., 2012; Gaillard et al., 2017). Similarly, scholars and activists point here to innovative queer forms of resistance and queer strategies for social change (Brady et al., 2019; Gaard, 2019; Goh, 2018) and building resilient communities based on love and care (Brady et al., 2019).

That said, the contribution of queer or climate geographers to these discussions has been relatively limited, despite hints in the literature suggesting that geographical thinking and analysis could enrich this budding body of literature. For instance, it has been shown that ‘safe spaces’ are crucial for queer people not just in face of social stigma but natural disasters, as well (IGLHRC & SEROvie, 2011), and that there is a need for cross-scalar alliances between social movements united by their interests rather than identities (Klinsky, 2018).


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Brandon Anthony Rothrock*, West Virginia University, Sexual and Place-Based Identity. Undergraduate LGBTQ+ Perceptions of Anthropogenic Climate Change in Appalachia. 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Laura Curry*, , Queering the City 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Leo Goldsmith*, ICF, Vanessa Raditz, ICF, Michael Mendez, ICF, Queer and Present Danger: Understanding the Disparate Impacts of Disasters on LGBTQ+ Communities 15 10:05 AM

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