Why Climate Change is an LGBTQ+ Issue

Written By: Sean Patrick Harrington

Climate change is a serious threat to our very way of life. If left unchecked, the impacts of global warming can provide devastating consequences to people around the world. For many communities that are already vulnerable and marginalized, the impacts of global warming can be especially catastrophic. While natural disasters and global warming do not discriminate, the response, relief, and recovery in these events routinely exclude the LGBTQ+ community putting them at a major risk.

Coralai’s CEO, Sean Patrick Harrington, recently attended a webinar discussing the connection between the LGBTQ+ community and the often-overlooked social consequences of climate change. The conversation was hosted by StartOut, a nonprofit organization supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. 

The Impacts of Global Warming on the LGBTQ+

The LGBTQ+ community has faced systematic issues such as discrimination, pay inequality, and housing affordability in the United States over hundreds of years. Because of these ongoing issues, youth continuously struggle with homelessness. Many members of the communities live beneath the poverty line, and they face a much higher risk of gender-based violence. The impacts lead to a queer community being more likely to suffer due to the detrimental effects of global warming and other natural disasters.

StartOut states “Climate change will affect every one of us on the planet, but its effect will not be the same for all. Social stigma, higher unemployment, underfunded shelters, and inadequate safe living spaces make LGBTQ+ people more vulnerable to environmental catastrophes. Making a change isn’t optional—it’s a necessity. In order to protect our community from the disastrous effects of climate change, we need to do more. Learn from LGBTQ+ founders making moves toward climate reform and ingenuity.” 

The Fight for Climate Justice

Solving these issues means addressing not only the fight against climate change but the fight against discrimination and inequality against the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone deserves a planet where people can thrive and be safe. Climate justice is a term used to highlight climate change as an issue and to recognize that it encapsulates the ethics and politics surrounding it. It recognizes that climate change adversely impacts underprivileged communities’ social, economic, health, and other factors.  

No matter where they are in their development, companies have a unique opportunity to incorporate DEI conversations and embrace diversity. Deloitte put out a survey that indicated that diversity creates better results diverse management teams return 15x greater returns and sales. Businesses and founders are encouraged to diversify and bring in more diversity initially. By creating a diverse workplace, companies provide stability and income to the underserved, allowing them a better chance to survive in any climate or socio-economic scenario. 

“As founders, each of us offers a focused discipline to our Coralai enterprise, which has proven incredibly helpful as we navigate the ideation, construction, launch, and growth of our company. To summarize, what we bring to the cohort; is our perseverance, nimble nature, and access to transformative leaders in skincare, retail, editorial, and technology. Coralai is majority founded and led by women and the LGBTQ+ community. We are DEI-rooted, and our brand’s vision is encapsulated in how we go to market,” said Harrington. 

The majority of the sector is helmed by underrepresented business owners who are primarily women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+. Moreover, women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC individuals constitute the majority of clients, patients, consumers, practitioners, staff, and service providers writ large across the category. 

Our top objective is to further our diversity. McKinsey reports companies in the top quartile for diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above respective industry medians. Glassdoor states diverse & inclusive organizations have better employee and customer retention. Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market (BersinbyDeloitte).

The LGBTQ+ community has a strong history of fighting for survival. It has the resilience and support needed to fight inequalities and help them survive in the face of adversity. As global warming continues to worsen, severe weather and climate conditions will further expose these vulnerabilities. 

The voices and stories of the marginalized within the LGBTQ+ community need to be heard. You can do your part by supporting your local community and LGBTQ+-owned and operated business. Support businesses that recognize and are doing their part to mitigate the impacts of climate change while supporting social justice.

Climate change needs to be addressed through the liberation and support of these communities to ensure that climate justice is achieved, guaranteeing equal protection and safety for everyone around the world.

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