Society features

National Audubon Society partners with drag performer Pattie Gonia to celebrate LGBTQ pride

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(New York, June 14, 2022)—The National Audubon Society has partnered with a drag artist Pattie Gonia to invite the LGBTQIA community outdoors this Pride month and to ensure they have a safe and welcoming experience while there. As part of the collaboration, Audubon publishes the first two of four videos celebrating outdoor pride, June 13 and 21.

From hiking in platform boots to ice skating in a famous dress made from reclaimed trash, Pattie Gonia is the brainchild of avid hiker and backpacker Wyn Wiley. Wiley says the character originated spontaneously on a hike several years ago, but became a way to bring attention to the climate change crises facing the wild lands of North America. She quickly gained millions of views and hundreds of thousands of social media followers.

“People ask me all the time, ‘how are the queer and environmental movements related,'” Pattie said. “I say, first of all, ‘no planet, no pride!’ Second, there is such an opportunity for people so versed in social justice, like the queer community, to join the environmental movement. Similarly, there is an equal opportunity for those versed in climate justice to help advocate for queer people. Why not take these two communities and work on cross-pollinating them?

“The traditional narrative if you’re queer is to run to big cities to be accepted, and often I think that creates a broken connection with nature, so I hope queer people take away the fact that they’re part of nature and the outdoors. And I think that’s a necessary step for organizations like Audubon to lead the way and show others, “hey, this is what it looks like to diversify outdoor and environmental spaces.”

“I am so inspired by birds. Everyday birds tell us that climate change is happening through their songs and through the songs they can no longer sing due to loss of habitats and species. So, are we going to choose to listen or not? »

Audubon has been celebrating Pride Month since 2018 with LGBTQ themed “Let’s Go Birding Together” bird walksas well as other events including a “bird drag tutorial.” Audubon is committed to ensuring that all communities, including people of color and the LGBTQ community, have access to safe and welcoming outdoor spaces.

“I feel like a proud dad to see ‘Let’s Go Birding Together’ take off nationally in so many ways,” said program creator Jason St. Sauver. “From its first beginnings at Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center in 2016, to reaching thousands of people through our collaboration with Pattie Gonia, it’s been great to see such a strange space created outdoors for so many people” ,

The four-video series was recorded at Audubon’s Spring Creek Prairie Center in Wiley’s home state of Nebraska. The center is also the home of Let’s Go Birding Together creator Jason St. Sauver. Topics not only cover this program, but also a music video inspired by Western Meadowlark, a feature on endangered grassland bird species, and a back-and-forth between Pattie and St. Sauver about careers in conservation.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jason Howe, 415-595-9245; jason.howe@audubon.org

About Audubon
The National Audubon Society protects the birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works across the Americas using field science, advocacy, education, and conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters and partners give Audubon an unprecedented scale that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A non-profit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more about audubon.organd on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.