Métis Nation of Ontario Hosts 2SLGBTQIA+ Climate Change Forum
MNO explores disproportionate climate change impacts on 2SLGBTQIA+ Métis and collects citizen feedback for new Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy
Ottawa, ON (October 24, 2023) – The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) hosted a virtual Climate Change Forum on October 21, for Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ Métis citizens, their families and allies. Featuring a speaker from the MNO’s new Two-Spirit Working Group, the forum addressed the disproportionate impact of climate change on this community and explored strategies for mitigation, relief and recovery. Forum attendees also had the opportunity to share their feedback and insights, which will inform the MNO’s future Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy.
“To increase climate resilience, we must first acknowledge that our Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ citizens bring unique perspectives and play significant roles within the Métis Nation, both historically and today, as visionaries, healers, medicine people, mediators and caregivers,” said President of the MNO Margaret Froh (she/her) – who is a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community herself.
“We created our Two-Spirit working group to honour Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ Métis for their valued insights and perspectives and we’re committed to weaving their viewpoints into any new environmental protection policies,” said Froh. “This latest forum is one tangible example of how we’re making sure they have a dedicated ‘place in the circle,’ as we tackle climate change together.”
Notable speakers at the forum included MNO Lands, Resources & Consultations Environmental Advisor, Cassidy Press (she/her), Charlotte Hunter Louttit-Kijekijik (she/elle/kwe) from the MNO’s Two-Spirit Working Group and University of Manitoba Assistant Professor Lucy Fowler (she/they). The MNO shared research indicating that 2SLGBTQIA+, BIPOC and low-income individuals are at higher risk of severe harms caused by the climate crisis due to the “social determinants of health.”
Research suggests that social determinants of health, including income, socioeconomic status, poverty, discrimination and chronic diseases are associated with disparities in harmful environmental exposure.*
North American studies show that 2SLGBTQIA+ and BIPOC individuals systematically experience worse social and economic conditions than the general population. The poverty rate for the LGBTQ+ community, for instance, is even higher among those who are also BIPOC and youth. Unemployment rates are also higher for Indigenous people (14 per cent), and especially for Indigenous and transgender people (24 per cent). This community ultimately has fewer resources to adapt to climate change and recover from environmental catastrophes. **
“We’re committed to making the environmental movement more inclusive and responsive to the unique needs of 2SLGBTQ+ citizens. These communities have historically shouldered the worst burdens of climate change, and the climate crisis only intensifies the struggles some are already facing, such as housing and food insecurity,” said MNO Lands, Resources & Consultations Environmental Advisor Cassidy Press.
“We hosted this forum to create a safe, inviting space where those most affected by these issues can be heard. We believe their input is valuable, and we’re eager to have their insights shape the climate mitigation, relief and recovery practices we’re working on here at the MNO,” said Press.
Media interviews with MNO spokespeople are available upon request. Spokespeople can speak to the Climate Change Forum, the MNO’s Two-Spirit Working Group and efforts to solicit 2SLGBTQIA+ citizen feedback to inform a new MNO-wide Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy.