6 LGBTQIA+ Environmental Activists You Need to Follow on InstagramPublished on 06/09/2022 · 6 min readWith pride month upon us, check out these 6 can't-miss Instagram profiles of LGBTQIA+ activists fighting to make our planet a better place for our future!
Photo by Ted Eytan
June 1st is the official start of LGBT Pride Month as a remembrance of the Stonewall Riots, also known as the Stonewall Uprisings. The 1960s and earlier decades consisted of constant police raids and shutdowns of gay bars and clubs where identifying members could openly express themselves. On June 28, 1969, the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn (an active gay bar), sparking a riot between the bar’s patrons and the police that lasted for six days. Protests and violence with law enforcement over the six-day period have since been known as the Stonewall Riots—a catalyst for gay rights movements around the world.
Writer’s Note: This is an extremely abbreviated history! LGBTQIA+ rights—and lack thereof— have a long history in the United States, and I encourage everyone to continue to educate themselves on the topic. I acknowledge that we are a country founded on the discrimination and marginalization of most members of American society.
Although the United States has since overturned some anti-LGBTQIA laws and, in June of 2015, made same-sex marriage legal, there are still systemic inequities on the basis of sexuality and gender in the American government and in American society.
Understanding the intersectionality of environmental justice and Queer rights is key to creating a safe space for all to enjoy nature and advance climate justice. If you are interested in learning more about these important conversations, here are 6 LGBTQIA environmental activists to follow on Instagram.
Pattie Gonia (they/she/he) is an environmentalist, drag queen, and self-identifying “professional homosexual” with the goal of building a space for queer people, allies, and of course the great outdoors.
Pattie Gonia also is the co-founder of @outdooristoath, a nonprofit organization with the aim of building the future of outdoor education and community by prioritizing inclusivity. There are three parts to this Oath:
- Acknowledging climate change is real and harmful so you will do what you can to protect the planet and its people.
- Acknowledging how systematic oppression marginalizes people so you will be an ally in the outdoor community.
- Understanding the adventure looks and feels different for everyone and respecting that.
You can take the oath here.
Pattie Gonia helped to establish Brave Trails—a program for Queer youth to safely experience the therapeutic benefits of nature. You can help fund the program and donate here. Pattie also promotes a job board for LGBTQIA+ people to post jobs, find jobs, and network (access it through the link in their bio).
Pattie Gonia is a key social figure advocating for gay access to the outdoors and educating the world on everything from climate change to upcycling clothes! The dramatic, extremely well-made, and amusing drag videos are an excellent example of the intersection of identity and environmental justice.
Making the outdoors friendly includes welcoming all races, ethnicities, identities, sexualities, neurodivergences, and all bodies. Jenny Bruso is helping do just that.
Jenny Bruso (she/they) is a “queer fat femme dirt whisperer taking body liberation outdoors” and the founder of @unlikelyhikers—an Instagram community, adventure trip buddy, and podcast. Bruso’s Unlikely Hikers fights for body liberation and anti-racism in the outdoors and features marginalized and underrepresented outdoorspeople on the page while also hosting trips for “unlikely hikers” to enjoy the outdoors together. You can donate or buy merch that directly goes to creating more hiking trips. Jenny reminds us that “nature is infinitely diverse and so are we.”
Bruso’s partnerships with gear companies highlight the need for more acceptance and inclusion among brands and urge these retail gear companies to create gear for all bodies and abilities.
Isaias Hernandez (he/they) uses Instagram to discuss the intersectionality of environmentalism and LGBTQIA+ rights with an intense focus on environmental justice, sustainability, and education. Hernandez also has a YouTube page that asks and answers questions about plastic use, greenwashing, ecofascism, immigration, the prison system, and more. After earning his B.S. in environmental science from UC Berkeley, Isaias vowed to educate the world on these topics and initiated the @queerbrownvegan Instagram and YouTube sites.
Follow Hernandez on Instagram to learn how you can implement sustainable habits into your life.
Nikki Smith (she/her/hers) is a photographer, National Geographic contributor, writer, climber, and trans activist with a multitude of companies standing behind her (REI, Mountain Hardwear, Brooks Running, and more).
Nikki aims to create a space for marginalized folks in outdoor spaces while sharing her own story about her transition process. She also often offers resources such as Queer-specific outdoor gear, classes, and trips. Smith has visually contributed to many books, with her photography, illustration, and layout skills, and has written articles for outdoor magazines. She is an inspiration when it comes to being your true self, pushing yourself to your limits, and engaging in extreme adventure. Learn more about her on her website.
Jaylen Bastos (they/them) is an ecology, Queer theory, and Black history educator that focuses on both Queer liberation and animal liberation. They are a non-binary, vegan podcast host of @zoboomafoolish that highlights Black, Indigenous, and Queer perspectives and theory. Bastos offers live customizable programs from birding 101 to soil regeneration to urban predators for your workplace or school, and they also have online workshops with topics ranging from decolonizing conservation to an introduction to queer ecology.
You can learn more about Baston and their podcast here.
Pinar Ates Sinopoulos-Lloyd (they/them) is a self-identifying “trans Indigenous mutant,” “multi-species futurist,” and “neurodivergent psychonaut.” They are the co-founder of @queernature and @indigequeers, education and inclusion-based programs that help connect people to their ancestors through the environment and reclaim Queer, Indigenous spaces in the outdoors. Pinar is the 2020 recipient of the National Audubon Society’s Environmental Champion and the trans ambassador of Native Women’s Wilderness and a founding member of Intersectional Environment. Additionally, Queer Nature offers a variety of workshops, skillshares as well as customizable programs. You can learn more about them and check out Queer Nature here.
We are a reflection of nature, not its conqueror. If nature can live in harmony with billions of different species, we should be able to as well. There is a large intersection between our environment and the fight for civil rights. The systematic socio-cultural and socio-economic inequalities that this country is based upon play an increasingly significant role in environmental justice, environmental racism, climate change, and more.
The first pride parade was proposed by Craig Rodwell, Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, and Linda Rhodes in Philadelphia, and in June of 1970, the first parade took to the streets of New York City to remember the Stonewall Uprisings just one year earlier. Today, pride parades happen in most major cities around the globe. While we are at pride parades and celebrations this year and for the many years to come, take a moment to remember why they exist in the first place and the significance they hold in our society today.