Queer Ecology

13 Apr 24

Queer Ecology is a theoretical framework that applies queer theory to environmental concerns, ecological constructs, and our relationships with nature. Queerness and ecology together make visible the interconnected, entangled conditions of life on earth and honour the strange, multispecies amalgamation we live in community with.”[1]

Bringing these two words together creates something quite rich and opens up many possibilities. For me queer ecology is becoming a way to start more intimately exploring our relationship to environment, sexuality and body in expansive, playful and imaginative ways.

→ Ecology - systems of many different components that all interact and have effect on each other (I usually think of this in terms of vegetal, organic systems).

→ Queer - an umbrella term that holds space for many different people.

This creates a space ‘that doesn’t hold absolutes’ [2]. By breaking down constructed binaries within social, environmental, vegetal and bodily concepts queer ecologies raise questions around what is considered ‘natural/’unnatural’. 

For Serpentine Gallery's Back to Earth: Queer Currents, Victoria Sin talks about ‘moving away from absolutes, moving away from our very human need to classify things and create these false dichotomies to separate ourselves from nature - to separate classifications from each other, when actually what we need to focus on are the relationships between things.’ [3]

The IQECO makes sense of the broad practices that emerge from Queer Ecology by looking at different scales, that of the individual - the organism- and that of the collective - the ecosystem. They hope that “On a rapidly changing planet, Queer mutability and mutualism can guide us toward adaptation and survival.” [4]

Many non-human beings exist in fluxing, transitory states between plant, mineral and animal, and are sexually and gender fluid. There are many documentations of queer animal behaviors and plants such as lichens ‘ are not anomalies but are rather illustrative of the fact that life and nature are found, if anywhere, in the complex and queer cobbling together of multispecies relationships.’

[1] The Institute of Queer Ecology
[2] Serpentine Gallery, Back to Earth: Queer Currents
[3] Serpentine Gallery, Back to Earth: Queer Currents
[4] David Griffiths, Queer Theory for Lichens