Wild Green

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

Why Are Gays Greener?

1/19/2011 2:04:19 PM

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 



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Post a comment below.

 

DavidK
2/14/2011 1:06:14 PM
The photo — the only photo — you've chosen to illustrate this article is suggestive of most gay folks? Men and women? Older and younger? Of varying political perspectives? Or was it just the most insulting, homophobic, trivial, dismissive, stereotypical photo of a gay person you could find in your archives? What the hell's the matter with you?

DavidK
2/14/2011 1:05:13 PM
The photo — the only photo — you've chosen to illustrate this article is suggestive of most gay folks? Men and women? Older and younger? Of varying political perspectives? Or was it just the most insulting, homophobic, trivial, dismissive, stereotypical photo of a gay person you could find in your archives? What the hell's the matter with you?

rodeen
1/25/2011 8:08:03 AM
Jeffery, I disagree. Find one popular fundamentalist Christian leader who says it is okay to either "trash" as you said or "rape" as the previous poster said the enviorment. If it is the large majority as you both claim this should be easy. I agree that the day of the lord will come before the world is destroyed by global warming. In the mean time we should treat Gods beautiful creation with respect. Just so we understand the measuring stick that was set by previous poster by "fundamentalist" we mean people who believe in the divine inspiriation of the bible in its totality?

Jeffrey Fried
1/24/2011 5:35:58 PM
One more small point. I am active in the DeFrank LGBT center in San Jose, including leading a weekly discussion group and a [separate] meditation group. I enjoyed the article, but as a gay physicist and engineer, i have grown weary of these very non-representative images of the LGBT community. I don't think we should represent every straight person as a blue-suited Republican with an Amercan flag pin, so, let's find another image to represent the LGBT community, please. I believe that i am taking a majority position with LGBT community on this point. Its time to rise above the stereotypes, right?

Jeffrey Fried
1/24/2011 5:26:56 PM
I am a gay fundamentalist Christian who finds this article consistent with my own experience in the LGBT community. With regard to the earlier poster who self identified as Christian, i agree that recently some fundamentalist Christian groups have started to take the position that it is biblically correct to act as stewards of the land that God has given us and i am glad that they have, but this is not true of all Christians. In fact most Conservative Christians still appear to feel that the end times are coming so that taking responsibility for the Earth is not as important as ramming their particular brand of Christianity down everyone's throats.

rodeen
1/24/2011 2:03:01 PM
Kit, Now that was funny! What a crock from top to bottom. I wont address the entire thing but as a fundamental Christian I feel obligated to be the truth police. It is wild generalzations like this that lead to the breakdown and divisions we have in society. FIRST, fundamental Christians do not beleive they can "rape" the enviorment. I am sure there are some nut jobs that have said that but I would say 99% of Christian fundamentalist feel we are called to be stewarts of the earth. God created a marvelously rich and beautiful world that is indeed “very good” (Genesis 1:31). We honor him by gratefully caring for it. SECOND it is laughable that you say God wants us to be rich so we trash the earth. First the premise is wrong God does not want us to be rich despite the Health and Wealth doctrine being preached and those are not what you would call fundamentalist. But what is most funny to me is I just dont see how trashing the enviorment = more money for me.

Kit Kellison
1/24/2011 12:27:12 PM
Gay culture encourages activism. For gays, that's a matter of life or death. When it seems totally reasonable for the GLBT community to expect equal rights, they see that the right wing is vehemently against them for "moral" reasons. Naturally, they might look closely at these people who prefer to be against their cause. In fact, that's a survival mechanism. Only natural since their humanity and possibly, their very existence is at stake (gaybashing). They see that fundamentalist Christians also teach that raping the environment is okay, because God gave people domain over the planet, and he "wants us to be rich." Perhaps this makes conscientious gay people angry. Also, since gay couples tend to have more expendable income that straight couples, they can afford to go to college to learn how to think critically and they can afford to eat organic foods. And isn't it interesting that gay people are concerned for the state of the planet for progeny they aren't even going to have? Are gay people just born to be more altruistic than straight people or is it a choice? Hmmm...if it is a choice, why can't everyone choose to be this concerned?

rodeen
1/24/2011 10:50:52 AM
Is it wrong that I find this quote hilarious? 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



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