Connecting the Dots: Precious Brady-Davis social justice, LGBTQ, and Climate Change

HuffPost has a beautiful article featuring Precious Brady-Davis. It is written by Alexander C Kaufman.

Precious Brady-Davis Is Connecting The Dots: Climate change is affecting every social justice struggle. The environmental movement’s best-known trans woman of color wants to make that link clear.

Brady-Davis, 33, is perhaps the most visible transgender woman of color in the climate movement today. She’s part of a new generation of environmentalists unmoored from the Patagonia-clad treehugger archetype and radicalized by global warming’s exacerbation of society’s worst inequities. As once-disparate social movements are awakening to climate change’s ubiquity, Brady-Davis, a top press secretary for the Sierra Club, is drawing on her roots as a queer African American from a pious family in a deep-red, rural state to build bridges over troubled and rising waters.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in exploring the intersections of climate change with human rights, social justice, LGBTQ issues, and gender.

The connections between climate change and gender are becoming clearer as the frequency and intensity of warming-fueled natural disasters increase. Women made up 70% of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami since they were trapped in their homes while men were out in the open, according to the United Nations. Sexist hiring practices and work cultures make it more difficult for women to support themselves during droughts or after disasters. The U.N. estimates 80% of those displaced by climate change are women.

The article rightly goes on to highlight the risks to LGBTQ people but also the many ways we have had to be resilient in the past. These lessons are essential on a changing planet.

There’s a lot for the climate movement to borrow from the more militant early era of the fight for LGBTQ rights, said Sean Estelle, a gender-nonconforming climate activist in Chicago. The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, emerged in the 1980s in response to the federal government’s inaction in the face of thousands of mostly gay men dying after contracting HIV. The movement pioneered die-in protests and amplified apocalyptic rhetoric to finally spur action from federal lawmakers who at times mocked AIDS victims and suggested the virus was a biblical punishment for the sin of same-sex attraction.

Whenever I talk to people about queer responses to climate change, I find the energy shifts and people really take notice.  Read the entire article for yourself to learn more about Precious’ background and how she became someone concerned about climate with a queer lens.

Also to learn more about what you can do to engage in queer climate action, check out Save the Unicorn! LGBTQ Response to Climate Change.

Photos by Annie Flanagan