FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New York, June 14, 2022)—The National Audubon Society has partnered with 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 is releasing the first two of four videos celebrating Pride in the outdoors, on June 13 and 21.
From hiking in platform boots to ice skating in a famous dress made from recovered pieces of discarded trash, Pattie Gonia is the creation of avid hiker and backpacker Wyn Wiley. Wiley says the character was born spontaneously on a hike several years ago, but became a way to call attention to climate change crises facing North America’s wild lands. She quickly earned millions of views and hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
“People ask me all the time, ‘how are the queer and environmental movements related’,” said Pattie. “I say, first, ‘no planet, no Pride!’ Second, there’s such an opportunity for people so versed in social justice, like the queer community, to join into the environmental movement. Similarly, there’s an equal opportunity for people versed in climate justice to help advocate for queer people. Why not take these two communities and work to cross pollinate them?
“The traditional narrative if you’re queer is to run to big cities for acceptance, and oftentimes I think that creates a severed connection to nature, so I hope that queer people take away that they are part of nature and the outdoors. And I think that it’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 no longer can sing due to habitat and species loss. So- are we going to choose to listen or not?”
Audubon has celebrated Pride month since 2018 with LGBTQ-themed “Let’s Go Birding Together” bird walks, as 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, welcoming outdoor spaces.
“I feel like a proud papa – seeing “Let’s Go Birding Together” take off nationally in so many ways,” said Jason St. Sauver, the program’s creator. “From its first beginnings at Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center in 2016, to reaching thousands through our collaboration with Pattie Gonia, it is great to see such a queer space being created outdoors for so many,”
The series of four videos was recorded at Audubon’s Spring Creek Prairie Center, in Wiley’s home state of Nebraska. The center is also headquarters for Let’s Go Birding Together creator Jason St. Sauver. Topics cover not only that program, but a Western Meadowlark-inspired drag music video, a feature on imperiled grassland bird species, and a back and forth between Pattie and St. Sauver on careers in conservation.
Jason Howe, 415-595-9245; firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.organd on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.