As the calendar turns into June, and organizations big and small are putting up their rainbow banners to wish my community a “Happy Pride Month,” I’m feeling both joyful and sad at the same time. I look forward to celebrating pride with my friends, wearing my wildest outfits, and holding hands in public without worrying about who gives my boyfriend a second look. I think about how far I have personally come since my first Pride, and the progress my community has made since before I was even born. In this there is joy.
Progress continues, but every step forward is hard won.
Pride in 2023 comes after a record year of anti-LGBT legislation introduced and passed in states across the country. My heart goes out to my friends in my home state of Missouri and other states where LGBT people are targeted and attacked by elected officials. It is more important than ever for LGBT people to be visible and speak directly about their experiences, while at the same time it becomes increasingly dangerous to do so. in this grief.
LGBT liberation is a climate issue, because LGBT people deserve a place in a post-fossil fuel society, And Because queer and trans people have the knowledge and experience of how we got there. When politicians seek to erase LGBTQ people from past and present through “Don’t Say Like Me” bills or drag bans, we are losing the voices of a community rich with diverse perspectives on a wide range of issues.
At the same time that states are proposing legislation to ban discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in the classroom, they are also passing bills banning the teaching of the history of racism in America and scientifically rigorous education on climate change. Schools and teachers are today the victims of widespread misinformation campaigns, and students—particularly LGBTQ, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students—are hardest hit.
Today’s youth, who will experience the worst climate impacts in their lives, are more likely to identify as gay or transgender, and LGBT people are more likely to be homeless, putting them on the front lines of today’s climate impacts. These are the people who will be the teachers, scientists, artists, and visionaries of tomorrow, forced to forge their lives and relocate nations for their own safety—along with the immigrants who are leaving their communities due to an increase in extreme weather.
States like Florida, Tennessee, and Texas are on the front lines of the climate crisis and are already seeing rising sea levels, hotter summers, frequent hurricanes, and atmospheric anomalies. All the while, state leaders are focused on getting LGBTQ people out of their communities, which leads to an exodus of trans people to safer cities that don’t target their access to health care or their safety.
When trans and queer people can safely be their full selves at home, work, and school, they can be leaders and powerful voices for justice in their workplaces and schools.
When LGBT people don’t have to worry about their safety in public, they can fully contribute to social and environmental justice movements in their community. LGBTQ+ people live in rural and urban communities; They are members of all races and ethnicities; They are rich and poor. They are on the front lines of the climate crisis; They are indigenous. They live in every nation on this earth. They have the expertise to instigate social change. We are as different as we are the same, and only together can we overcome the massive collective climate crisis we face.
I celebrate this Pride Month. I celebrate a world where LGBT people feel safe being themselves in any city. I celebrate a world where communities lift each other up, sharing food, art and stories. I celebrate a world where everyone feels free to let themselves out. I celebrate a world where politicians and people with power take swift and decisive climate action to protect frontline communities. I celebrate a world where everyone has the opportunity to give and receive love.
This pride, I celebrate with my chosen family, but I also work to create a world worth celebrating.
Trevor Cobb is the Communications Coordinator for Climate Generation. When he was young, he wanted to be a marine biologist, but after discovering he was more of an arts kid than a science kid, he decided that communicating with others about protecting the world and its oceans would be a better path. He studied writing, Spanish, and graphic design at Drury University, a small liberal arts college in Missouri, before moving to Minnesota to enjoy snowy winters and (hopefully) mild summers. In Trevor’s spare time, he can be found riding public transportation to an art gallery or brewery, perhaps reading a book from the public library. In all of Trevor’s work, he strives to find creative ways to tell the truth. Whether through writing, design, illustration, or conversations both online and offline, he seeks to communicate honestly about the climate crisis facing the global community.