In the NOW has created a video on Ecosexuals that is currently making the usual social media rounds. While at first glance, it appears to be a relatively neutral piece in each individual element, the total is far less than satisfactory. It is clear that the content creators purposefully selected only the most titillating video clips and bits of information, taking us entirely outside the context of our own culture; and failing to credit those who have worked to create it. As an activist queer, I would like to state plainly to outside commentators: we are not your clickbait.
I participated in Portland's “Wedding to the Waters” ceremony, and was proud to do so. Part of what In the NOW's video neglected to mention was that these public wedding ceremonies and other rituals are typically held with reference to local and regional ecological issues for the purposes of getting media attention on the legitimate matters at hand. Engaging in public acts of performance art is a non-violent way to garner such necessary attention.
The only alternative on offer right now seems to be rioting.
The roots of this queer ecological movement lie in the work of activist drag and gender-bending performers such as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Emerging in the late 70's, these theatrical tactics have proven successful in fighting hatred against sexual minorities; bringing the AIDS epidemic to national attention; and in fighting breast cancer. Ecosexuality seeks to apply these same non-violent demonstration and fundraising methods to environmental issues.
The woman credited with the creation of this movement is Annie Sprinkle, a porn star and noteworthy member of the BDSM community who has distinguished herself by earning her Ph.D. Along with her partner, Beth Stevens, the two have given their lives to spreading their message of non-violent political action and local resistance to the environmental excesses of a marauding corporate culture. These two, who place a high value on education, are an inspiration to queer youth everywhere - in an era when such positive role models are few and far-between.
I had the privilege of meeting Annie and Beth as a support performer for one of their walking tours. I found them both to be pleasant and down-to-earth people, passionately committed to their cause. The utter lack of narcissism or celebrity syndrome I found in them was quite refreshing. The issues highlighted on the walking tour were all matters of legitimate concern to everyone: our disconnect as human beings from our natural environment; the consequences of industrial pollution; the pillaging of our natural resources for corporate gain; the recent dramatic losses in biodiversity; and so forth.
It is therefore discouraging to see Milo Yiannopolous' outfit jump on In the NOW's video without providing this queer cultural context; as he himself has expressed dismay at the deterioration of our over-all fabulousness as a community. While mud baths and tree licking may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is hard to argue that anyone does it with more aplomb or better costuming than these ladies. After all, what is the harm?
Hyperbolic reactions in the comments to the Milo article reflect dysphoric thinking. If the Earth be inanimate and therefore not worthy of treating in a relationship model, then ecosexual kink practices ought be no more offensive than the use of a dildo or any other sexual aid. In the alternative case, must one ask consent of the dust mites in one's bed when one engages in the most vanilla of sex acts?
Finally, the reality is that the vast majority of ecosexuals do not themselves share these kinks (or dedication to performance art, whichever the personal case may be). In fact, most ecosexuals simply like to make love outdoors in places of unspoiled natural beauty. To that point, who doesn't? As it is, such places where this is safe or even possible are becoming more scarce every day.
At this point, holding our little wedding ceremonies might be considered tantamount to marrying one's lover on her death bed while praying for a miracle.