Advancing disaster geographies: From marginalisation to inclusion of gender and sexual minorities

Publication Name

Geography Compass


Despite growing awareness and research into experiences of gender and sexual minorities – also known as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual and other identities (LGBTQIA+) – their needs and capacities are often overlooked in crisis response and disaster risk reduction. LGBTQIA+ peoples' vulnerability is shaped by social marginalisation, discrimination, and stigma, and exacerbated by dominant value systems and Western heteronormative framings of disaster experiences. We present a review of scholarship into gender and sexual minorities and disasters. We summarise extant knowledge and identify areas for growth in the field of disaster geographies. We argue that progress requires increased conceptual and methodological focus on diversity and the intersectional factors that exacerbate marginality, more inclusive knowledge production pathways focussed on risk reduction, and establishing methods for LGBTQIA+ people to be involved in research about them. More critical and inclusive research will not only aid progress in disaster geographies; it will also provide vital evidence with which to lobby policymakers and disaster management to pay closer attention to diversity and inclusion. By moving beyond normativity, cisgender-heterosexual assumptions, and homogenising identity labels, we can begin to address social, cultural, and political factors that determine spatial inequalities, marginalisation, and disaster vulnerability for gender and sexual minorities.

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