Leafy Queens Podcast

A One-Off Podcast About Queer Ecology

During the winter semester of 2024, my Queer Archives teacher, Dr. August Klintberg, asked us to submit a podcast instead of an essay as our final project. So I dug into the concept of Queer Ecology and asked a queer-transgender herbalist friend of mine named Lenny, to join me in conversation.

My research started with a zine called Gay Plants, published in 2017. I found a link to it in a post about another zine in the Queer Zine Archive Project.

Gay Plants is a collection of essays, art pieces, resources, excepts from a novel, a manifesto, and a magical cheat sheet. The contributors are from various parts of the world, but the primary contributor and curator is left unnamed, having only signed one section as ‘GP’.  What I found interesting was the process of categorizing plant species as a systemic reinforcement of heteronormative hierarchies, and plant life being so heavily othered that they become symbols for queer resilience in dystopian futures where the plants have reclaimed the ruins of man-made cities.

I honestly believe, that if you know how systems are built and sustained, you can figure out how to dismantle them. So if plants can be used to uphold colonial and heteronormative systems, then there is reason to believe that they can also be used to disrupt them. There is hope to be found in the process of decolonization and movements that are actively addressing systemic discrepancies.

So please join Lenny Curle, the artist behind Prairie Ritual and me, while we discuss the concept of Queer Ecology, methods of resistance and potential futures; with a special cameo from Kes Otter Lieffe who allowed me to use one of her audio clips elaborating on how she defines ‘Queer Ecology’.

The Crown Against Mafavuke: This is a link to the video I mentioned as a hidden QR code “under the keyboard at the computer that is closest to the librarians” about 15 minutes in.

Works Cited

Anderson, Heather. “To move with us: I don’t know where paradise is as heterotopia,” in I don’t know where paradise is, Benny Nemer et al., 8-9, 19-36, Ottawa: Carleton University Art Gallery, 2023.

FlyingOtter. The Transgender Herb Garden. 2009.

Foucault, Michel. “Of other spaces: utopias and heterotopias,” in Rethinking Architecture, edited by Neil Leach, 350-356, London: Routledge, 1997.

Gay Plants. Vol. 1, 2017.

Heinemann, Caspar. Fucking Pansies. Encore, 14 June 2017.         

Katz, Sandor. Wild Fermentation. 2001.

Lieffe, Kes Otter. What even is Queer Ecology? 9 April 2023.

Orlow, Uriel. The Crown Against Mafavuke. Vimeo, 2016.

Spillmann, Philipp. “What Plants Were Called before They Had a Name.Brand New Life, 21 June 2018.