Celebrating Pride Month

This Pride Month, CleanAIRE NC is raising awareness about how air pollution impacts the LGBTQIA2S+ community. 

While the environmental justice movement has exposed how communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of environmental hazards, research reveals a similar vulnerability within the LGBTQIA2S+ community. This disparity is even more pronounced for individuals who identify with both marginalized groups.

This increased vulnerability and exposure risk is due to several factors:


Where people live impacts their exposure to air pollution. Meanwhile, discrimination and economic hardship limit access to safer neighborhoods with healthier air. Discriminatory policies (whether intentional or not) have historically pushed LGBTQIA2S+ people into less desirable, heavily polluted areas near hazardous land uses. This leads to a higher risk of respiratory illnesses and cancer.

Indoor Hazards

Limited housing options often force LGBTQIA2S+ people into substandard housing at higher rates than the heterosexual population. This significantly increases their risk of exposure to indoor environmental hazards such as lead paint, lead pipes, asbestos, radon, and other pollutants unfortunately common in such spaces.


Higher smoking rates within these neighborhoods translate into greater exposure to secondhand smoke at home, work, and social spaces. This secondhand smoke exposure can significantly worsen existing respiratory issues caused by air pollution and chest binding, a practice used by some transgender individuals.

Medical Discrimination

LGBTQIA2S+ people, especially disabled and BIPOC individuals, often encounter medical discrimination or reluctance to seek care due to past mistreatment. This is a major concern, with studies suggesting one-third of transgender people in the US have experienced such harassment or denial of medical care.

Homelessness & Climate Disasters

Studies show a 2.2 times greater risk of homelessness for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals aged 18 – 25 compared to their non-LGBTQIA2S+ peers. When climate disasters strike, homeless LGBTQIA2S+ people are far more likely to experience a range of health problems including hypothermia, hyperthermia, respiratory issues from wildfire smoke, and infectious diseases from floods.

To learn more about what you can do to support our climate and protect the health of LGBTQIA2S+ communities, visit cleanairenc.org.