Focus Month Human Rights Pride Month

Taking Pride in Nature and the Environment from a Queer Perspective: The Protection Nexus


OPINION Jan Maina 8 July 2022

The month of June, where two journeys of a planetary crisis and human liberation take place. One is the Pride and the other one is Stockholm 50+ to celebrate the World Environment Day which committed to the journey towards environmental liberation and sustainability over 50 years ago. From these two events, the common denominator of nature stands out. Consequently, we must therefore ask ourselves, do we need to restrain nature? And if so, why do we repeatedly invoke natural law into our jurisdictions with prejudice? The incongruity behind states invoking natural law in their jurisdictions selectively clearly manifests when they criminalize or limit the freedom of same sex unions.

Nature vs Nurture

Within the spirit of Stockholm 50+, the nexus between environmental issues and the LGBTIQ+ agenda depicts a nature that needs protection and not criminalization. To this end, the environment is a universal subject and environmental rule of law demands making the right choices for a decent environment fundamental to human existence.[1] Perhaps if we began associating the environmental rule of law concept to the LGBTIQ+ criminalization and unlawful limitation of freedom in protecting nature from both a human rights perspective and peaceful human existence perspective, we can appreciate the need for humanity and celebrate that Pride is a nature concept.  

The whole deliberation of same sex relations and gender identity being unnatural as advanced by most states has been settled over time through in-depth research findings. The Nature vs Nurture ideal has come a long way and indeed studies confirm that sexual orientation is indeed a matter of nature and not nurture.[2] Within this precincts, majority of states that criminalize these same sex relations and gender identity especially in Africa and the Middle East clothe themselves under the veil of morality and culture.[3] If so, how do these states apply the concept of culture so asymmetrically? Culture as a way of life indeed has its underpinning within the legal concept of the right to determination. Subsequently, this right lies within the ambit of the right of choice in such a way that the outcome of a people’s choice should not affect the existence of the right of such a people to make a choice.[4] Even at the international space, by virtue of that right, all peoples have the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. It is therefore paradoxical that these states limit this right of choice and determination and at the same time wrongfully justify the same limitation on culture grounds.

The Nature of Pride and humanity

As we celebrate the World Environment Day and Pride in the month of June and as we protect nature from human activities, we should protect the nature of a human’s way of life. The World Environment Day held on 5th June 2022 was focused on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature”.[5] The green stripe on the Pride flag represents nature. This stripe emphasizes that being queer is in nature’s design, and that pride is a way of these people to take pride in their own nature.

Nature must therefore be allowed to thrive sustainably with humanity. In doing so, LGBTIQ+ people would not have to live in uncertainty and threats to their very humanity that nature safeguards.

Jan Maina is a Lawyer and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, he is also a scholarly writer in areas of Constitutional law and Public International law; he is also a DAAD and TGCL Alumni.

[1] See UNEP, Environmental Rule of Law, First Global Report, 2019.

[2] Boston University, ‘Nature vs. Nurture: The Biology of Sexuality’ (BU Today, 16 November 2010) accessed 24 June 2022.

[3] Tafi Mhaka, ‘Homophobia: Africa’s moral blind spot’ (Aljazeera, 6 May 2022) accessed 24 June 2022.

[4] UNPO, Self Determination,

[5] UNEP, World Environment Day, 2022

2 replies on “Taking Pride in Nature and the Environment from a Queer Perspective: The Protection Nexus”

This is quite a well researched opinion. It captures the subject well while at it still captivating to the reader.

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