What’s good, my fellow queer babies? Happy Pride! Welcome to The Seedling, brought to you by The Uproot Project. I’m Yessenia Funes (she/her), writing to you all from the quiet, tree-lined streets of Queens, New York. Though I’m currently the climate director of Atmos, a very dope and very gay climate magazine, I’ve previously sat on Uproot’s steering committee and am proud to say I helped birth this baby. I’m glad to be here with you all this month.
June is one of my favorite months of the year. Summer is not quite yet here, so it’s hot but not that hot (yet). And, sure, it’s when all the gays come out of hibernation—but it’s also a month for powerful climate storytelling. Hurricane season has begun. And wildfire season (though it’s not really a season anymore) is here, too.
Some of my favorite climate stories for June, however, don’t revolve around weather disasters. No, they center the queer, trans, nonbinary, gay, lesbian, bi, intersex, two-spirit, and all other LGBTQIA+ identities that flourish under the sun. The intersection of gender/sexuality and climate is a strong one, but the media don’t pay much attention to it.
We at Atmos, I must say, are the exception. We go hard for Pride. Last year, I published a months-long feature on a gay land activist in Brazil who was murdered. Though our identities are something to celebrate, they can also make us a target. This is an urgent narrative that every single reporter should find ways to tell. This year, I’m working on a few stories for Pride. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m profiling a pretty dope trans climate activist who’s suing the U.S. government. I’ve also commissioned a queer Black writer to talk about their role as an educator, especially in light of the recent gun tragedies to hit our nation. I’m also trying to answer how this heat is affecting celebrations around the globe.
That’s what Pride is about. It’s about telling stories that not only alert the public to how our queerness compounds with the climate crisis. It’s also about inspiring readers and uplifting the queer community’s accomplishments. And while we should write about the gays, we must also hire the gays. As a bi baby who covers climate justice, I pride myself on bringing this lens into my work year-round. I hope you all do the same.
Happy Pride! And stay safe, y’all. This summertime heat is no joke. Gotta love climate change.