Contributed Piece: ‘From Ecofeminism to Ecosexuality: Queering the Environmental Movement‘
Jennifer J. Reed is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she is also a Barrick Graduate Fellow. Her areas of specialty include human impacts on the environment and health as well as social arrangements based on sexuality and gender. The intersection of environmental activism and sexual rights naturally led her to be attracted to ecosexuality.
Jennifer’s interest in ecosexuality is a reflection of her own diverse personal experiences. As a youth, she witnessed a toxic waste incinerator that was cited as a danger to public health and the environment permitted to open next to an elementary school and river floodplain in her impoverished community. Despite massive protests against it, the project was still eventually approved. That was her introduction to the intersections of poverty, negative environmental impacts and disproportionate health risks, or environmental injustice.
Her experience as a teenage mother in this Appalachian county of Ohio began her quest to understand the intersections of gender, sexuality and economic injustices. In order to support her two children and finish college with few economic opportunities after leaving an abusive relationship, she worked as an erotic dancer. These life experiences drive her to recognize and develop an understanding of the intersections of multiple inequalities and oppressions.
In 2011, Jennifer presented on the “Theories of EcoSex” panel at Ecosex Symposium II in San Francisco, California. She organized a performance lecture and film screening that brought key ecosex activists, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle to share their version of ecosexuality with the Las Vegas community for Earth Day 2014. Furthermore, she was an invited presenter on the 2014 CatalystCon West sexuality conference panel, “ECOSEX! Make the Earth Your Lover” in Los Angeles, California.
Jennifer is currently conducting her dissertation research on the ecosexual movement. She proposes that as we transition to a more global society, this sort of intersectional activism–finding places where major social issues overlap and activists from seemingly disparate networks and movements align to help each other with measures of resistance–represents the future of broad-based social movements in an era of significant change. In her personal life, she is an avid scholar-activist, and proud mom and grandma.