Queer the Future! is a call-to-action for LGBTQIA2S+ and non-binary people,
our leaders, WITH HELP FROM our allies, TO:
Imagine near-term and long-range futures that center thriving queer lives. Build our resilience for disruptive future forces. Radically transform broken systems to work for all.
Ultimately, achieve unimaginable freedom for our descendants.
It's never been more important to understand how the next few decades could disproportionately shape LGBTQIA2S+ lives, and how queer people and our movement can have an outsized impact on the future.
As COVID created "unprecedented" times, the pandemic and containment measures have also exposed the harmful precedent of resuming broken systems after a crisis—without reconsidering or transforming them—that are already not working well for majorities of society.
New opportunities for LGBTQIA2S+ people are already emerging and will abound over the next 10-30 years. They'll tap into our resilience, our formally-grassroots communities of care, and the 'queer imagination' that is primed to spot abundance and potential within the worlds of each identity, or mask, we live in.
However, in 2021, a significant body of research shows that many LGBTQIA2S+ people across the US and world already lead more precarious lives than cisgender straight people. LGBTQIA2S+ people, and especially Indigenous, Black, and other communities of Color in the U.S., have been found to live in worse economic, health, and housing situations than cisgender straight people—even more striking considering queer communities as a lower percentage of the total population. And/or they may live in countries without a foundation of legal or cultural protections, which are generally precursors to start catching up to a cis straight status quo.
And it might not get better. The deeply-rooted hostility we've faced for centuries may surge again in the future. If left unexplored and unprepared, majors trends of the future could potentially lead to ongoing economic hardship and new forms of poverty for LGBTQIA2S+ people, emerging tools and media for bias and discrimination, and, as regions around the world face more dire threats faster than others, even more motivations for all-too-historic violence against us.
As much as this pandemic makes it hard to plan weeks or even days ahead, we must begin immediately to identify the major future forces that will disrupt queer lives—for better and worse—in the coming decades.
While some of these forces can be seen already, others will be more invisible or inevitably surprising. But all are well underway today and accelerating unabated while the present moment pulls us away from scrutinizing them.
Driving forces currently investigating (as of June 2021)
lasting effects of COVID-19
climate change and extreme weather
ascent of Afroqueer and dismantling white supremacy
resource scarcity and mass migration
aging while LGBTQ + caregiving out of the closet
increasing health disparities
fight for LGBTQ livelihoods
algorithmic employment / deconstructing work
flourishing of the queer imagination
And we're discovering more as this research continues. The opportunities and threats of these forces are already being woven into the fabric of the next decade, when 36 million more LGBTQIA2S+ people will be born and join the 382 million-strong queer community projected to be alive in 2030.[background]
The goal of foresight isn’t actually to "predict" the future. Rather it is to reduce uncertainty in order to prepare for whatever unfolds, as per the diagram above. Possibilities arise, even in the seemingly impossible, when we imagine and identify more of our preferred futures. The rainbow core represents our collective queer futures that are both preferred—our goals and hopes, like true LGBTQIA2S+ liberation—and probable—more likely than not to occur. But increasing the odds that our hopes also become our actual future reality won't be easy. Such an effort will require continuous anticipation, preparation, and adaptation, across our whole movement and community of communities.
The Queer the Future Initiative is currently interviewing researchers, futurists, subject experts, and big picture thinkers, from academia, activism, business, and beyond, identifying as LGBTQIA2S+, gender non-binary, and allies, in areas encompassing economics, climate change, migration, health and food supply, politics, and technology.
Our first stage is a core set of the forces that will most shape life for LGBTQIA2S+ people living, loving, and working over the next 10-30 years Together these components will form a final version 1.0 of Resilient Equality and Liberation Innovation 2021-2050: Future Forces Shaping LGBTQIA2S+ and Gender Non-Binary Lives, a hybrid map-of-the-future and report in spring 2021.
The future is queer, as the meme proclaims, but only if we also plan how we'll survive and thrive in the years to come. Starting today.