A non-binary trans woman posing in a park on a sunny day.
A non-binary trans woman posing in a park on a sunny day. Source: genderspectrum.vice.com

Why Pride and Planet have always been linked

“Supporting LGBTQ people means recognizing our full humanity, including the ability to live on a healthy planet.”

Cultural and institutional discrimination against LGBTQIA+ communities is more than a societal issue; it’s a root cause of systemic failures, and for businesses striving for net zero, understanding this link is crucial. 

Addressing LGBTQIA+ rights is – and always has been – fundamental to achieving sustainability and economic goals, which makes Pride month a powerful ‘call to adventure’ for organisations to showcase how they are building an equitable world through sustainable innovation. 

Cultural othering and institutionalised discrimination weakens societal progress through disengagement. Internally, when workplaces marginalise any group, they reduce capacity for diverse, experience-led thinking, creative problem-solving, and ultimately growth.

In its place, inclusive decision-making ensures all voices are heard, leading to a more effective strategy that drives progress on every front, for the benefit of all.

Understanding Intersectionality

In her book ‘It’s Not That Radical’, climate activist Mikaela Loach stresses that climate justice and social justice are inextricably linked, because none of us live single-issue lives.

It was civil rights scholar, Kimberlé Crenshaw, who popularised the term ‘intersectionality’, which emphasises the ways different identities manifest in the social world. Each of us navigates multiple axes of privilege and oppression, including gender, race, dis/ability, socioeconomic status, geography, and LGBTQIA+ identities. This complexity builds resilience and connects those of us on the peripheries, making us stronger together.

Change also comes from the connection of clusters on the periphery – LGBTQIA+ rights, the environmental movement, racial justice, young people’s rights, Indigenous rights, disability rights, and wealth inequity are all interconnected. 

But the people who are the most impacted by the climate crisis often contribute the least to it, such as extreme heat and environmental hazards which disproportionately affect LGBTQIA+ communities. Research also shows that gender non-conforming individuals face increased homelessness, and shelters often lack the capacity or safety for these communities. 

Leadership from the Margins

Achieving a net-zero planet requires businesses to include and protect these communities as part of their mission.

As the most powerful way to build belief and earn support for new ideas, storytelling is essential to demonstrating your understanding of the challenges facing LGBTQIA+ people and your role in addressing them, internally and externally. 

One such example is urban planning which when conducted inclusively in collaboration with communities, effectively reduces carbon emissions while creating safer spaces for the people who live and work there; a highly effective strategy for long-term growth. 

To create a compelling narrative around the intersection of social, environmental, and economic justice, you can use the Lean Story Canvas to map out and improve your story.

It will enable you to demonstrate your understanding of LGBTQIA+ communities and their challenges – in a context of discrimination leading to fragmented efforts – revealing your role in overcoming these interlinked environmental and social challenges to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable society.

Lean Story Canvas with guidance to help you consider the journey of change for LGBTQIA+ communities

Addressing LGBTQIA+ discrimination head-on and folding the needs of this community within your strategy-as-story is crucial for building a sustainable and economically viable business.

Although just one month a year, Pride provides you with a powerful opportunity to share how your engagement and support of LGBTQIA+ communities benefits people, and the planet.

The other 11 months are to do the work.


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