5 LGBTQ Activists over 30 making a difference
June 28, 2022
Due to the negative historical impact of climate change on the LGBTQ+ community, it only makes sense that LGBTQ+ activists would also steward environmental advocacy. However, minorities, including the LGBTQ+ community, are simultaneously underrepresented in the movement and disproportionately affected by environmental harm. Communities impacted the most by ecological injustices should be at the forefront of environmentalism.
Here are five activists over 30 to learn from this Pride Month and always:
- Rikki Weber She/Her
Rikki Weber is a Sr.Legal Practice Manager and Litigation Assistant at EarthJustice, the United State’s largest non-profit environmental law organization. In the courtroom, EarthJustice represents the earth and the communities negatively impacted by climate change to fight for a clean environment. Rikki started an LGBTQ+ group at EarthJustice so that queer environmentalists could be recognized. She is also a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team, where she works with coworkers to discuss issues of intersectionality and increase the visibility of minority groups in the environmental sector.
- Christopher Sebastian McJetters He/Him
Christopher is a Jamaican-born long-time vegan and social activist queering animal liberation and fighting climate change with diet change. Christopher is an author, researcher, and lecturer who takes a multidisciplinary approach that combines media theory, political science, sociology, and mass communications to examine how human relationships with animals shape our attitudes about race and sexuality and how animal violence contributes to anti-black racism and classicism.
Christopher is also a staff writer at Vegan Publishers, a part-time lecturer on speciesism at Columbia University, and social media manager of the Peace Advocacy Network. He sits on the advisory board for Black Vegans Rock, and he appears in the film The Invisible Vegan, which examines the unhealthy dietary patterns of the African-American community.
- Lindi Von Mutius She/Her
Lindi Von Mutius is an attorney and educator exploring the intersection of environmental conservation and justice for LGBTQIA+ communities. Her article The Look We Give poignantly addresses the feeling of solidarity among minorities in the outdoor world and her experience as one of the only bisexual black biracial women inhabiting the outdoor space. She has previously worked as the Chief of Staff at the Sierra Club, worked at the Environmental Defense Fund, held senior roles with the World Bank, and served as a board member of OUT for Sustainability.
Lindi graduated from Harvard in 2005 as Harvard Extensions’ first-ever master’s candidate in the Environmental Management program. As of this February, she has returned to the Extension School as the Sustainability and Global Development Practice program director.
- Vasu Primlani She/Her
Vasu Primlani is a stand-up comedian and environmentalist from New Delhi, India, with a master’s degree from UCLA in Urban Planning and Law. She founded and served as the executive director of Thimmkka’s Resources for Environmental Education, named for the Indian environmentalist Saalamurada Thimmakka, the mother of 8000 trees. Between 2003 and 2012, she received over a dozen recognitions for the success of her nonprofit and her contributions as an environmentalist.
She now leads workshops, hosts trainings, and guest lectures as an environmental consultant for numerous US and Indian businesses and universities. And, of course, when she’s not educating the world on environmental issues, she is touring around making people laugh as an award-winning comic.
- Pattie Gonia-Wyn Wiley They/She/He
Pattie Gonia, the backpacking drag queen, brings drag into the outdoors and queers into mother nature. Through TikTok and Instagram (@pattiegonia), Pattie is creating a more inclusive climate movement by advocating for inclusivity and diversity in the outdoors. They have raised awareness for the ongoing environmental justice crisis, fundraised over half a million dollars for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and environmental NGOs, and educated their huge following through playful videos.
Pattie creates many of their drag looks from upcycled materials such as plastic bags or trash as a statement to end plastic pollution. They often strap on their platform heels and pick up trash along a hiking trail, rock climb, or sing about the dangers of climate change. Pattie is also the co-founder of The Outdoorist Oath, a nonprofit organization that promotes education and community building toward inclusion in the outdoors.
These environmentalists are all creating safe spaces in the environmental movement where initially, people who looked or acted like them were historically excluded. Their work paves the way for future generations and LGBTQ+ youth to step up against climate change. However, even with the strides being made, there is so much more to be done toward achieving an entirely equitable environment.