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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


Why Are Gays Greener?

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: gays, lesbians, GLBT, politics, Grist, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Green man, Brighton Pride ParadeGays and lesbians are more concerned about environmental issues than other Americans, a new poll finds—and Grist asks just what is going on here. Why is the gay agenda such a green agenda?

Fifty-five percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people care greatly about the environment, compared to just one-third of heterosexuals, according to a Harris online poll conducted in November and reported on the E2 Wire blog of The Hill. Forty-five of LGBTs say environmental issues are “extremely” or “very” important when they vote, compared to 27 percent for heterosexuals They are also more likely to make voting and purchasing decisions with environmental issues in mind.

Here are some explanations that Grist gathered from editors and writers at various LGBT publications:

• “Gay and lesbian people vote progressively, so it seems natural that they would live progressively,” says The Advocate Senior Editor Neal Broverman.

• “Growing up gay causes folks to look at the world from the perspective of ... being an outsider. I think that makes people much more aware of how actions ... can affect both other people and, by extension, the environment,” says Michael Jensen, editor of After Elton.

• And here’s Kathleen Connell writing in San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: “The mentality that allows desecration of the ecosystem is the same mindset that continues to allow the second-class citizenship of LGBT people everywhere.”

So greens can take heart that the gay community is on board with their message. Sadly, the same poll brings discouraging news about Americans as a whole, reports the Ecology Today blog:

Just over 1 in 3 U.S. adults (36 percent) say they are concerned about the planet they are leaving behind for future generations, compared to more than 2 in 5 adults (43 percent) who said so in 2009.

Sources: The Hill, Grist, Ecology Today