Sexuality and Natural Disaster: Challenges of LGBT Communities Facing Hurricane Katrina
13 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2014 Last revised: 6 Jun 2021
Date Written: May 10, 2014
This paper seeks to illuminate the marginalization and unique vulnerabilities at the intersection of sexuality and natural disasters. Drawing from literature and descriptive case studies, this paper examines the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities in the heteronormative disaster relief system following Hurricane Katrina. Rejecting the notion of a monolithic existence, LGBT communities will be referred to in the plural throughout this paper. The intention is not to speak for all, but to record trends in accounts of marginalization as identified in pattern-recognition. Discriminatory policy and a pervasive culture of social stigma rendered LGBT individuals powerless in a response construct rooted in inequity. Through categorizing distinct disadvantages in capital and adversities in service and aid provision, this paper concludes that the federal and local neglect of LGBT communities is an environmental injustice. This paper is a call for discourse and action integrating LGBT communities within political and social constructs of disaster risk reduction and response.
Keywords: LGBT, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, Louisiana, Natural Disaster, Sexuality, Hurricanes, Disaster Relief, FEMA, Environmental Justice, Disaster Policy, HIV
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