A panel on “Queer Ecology” was featured at the 2011 Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA). Four panelists provided their insights on the relationship between “queers” and the environment, coming to sometimes contradictory conclusions.
In her lecture “Green Angels in America: Aesthetics of Equity,” Katie J. Hogan of Carlow University argued for “environmental justice,” and used as her vehicle the controversial play Angels in America.
Hogan argued that Angels in America is a “contribution to this queer environmental effort” because it “links beauty, environment, and social justice” with an “esthetic of equity.” She argued that “minorities have the right to appreciate the esthetic of their environment” even if others consider that environment to be “blight.” Hogan discussed her assumption that queers and other minorities mostly live in urban environments, where the urban environment is often limited to things like weeds that grow up between sidewalk cracks. Hogan argued that the oppressive majority “condemns urban environments as blight” instead of looking at them as “spaces of opportunity.”
Hogan argued that nature is a “vehicle for escape,” going on to state that “the queering of nature offers complex nature-based resistance that transcends” white culture.