We all know that our planet could use some extra love these days, so here are a few TGNCNB informed ways to show it. Though these ideas might not work for everyone, they are intended to provide some guidance as to how we as TGNCNB folx can better treat our planet under our current social systems. None of these suggestions are paid promotions.
Properly dispose of your medical waste
A lot of us use needles, syringes, patches, tape, etc. to aid us in our transition and be our most authentic selves. However, not everyone knows the best ways to dispose of their medical waste. Make sure to dispose of all sharps (whether prep or injection needles) in an approved container. If you don’t have access to one, most areas have places where you can deposit your used needles and syringes at no cost. And as always, NEVER re-use your needles. In terms of tapes, make sure that the adhesive edges have all been secured so as not to get stuck to anything else. You can always talk to your prescribed for the best ways to get rid of the medical waste specific to your needs. Properly disposing of this specific type of waste not only protects wildlife from being injured after coming into contact with it, but also prevents other humans from being hurt as well.
Rethink your wardrobe
Everyone deserves to have clothes that make them feel comfortable. However, it can take many tries to really develop your own sense of style and get your new clothing size right. Instead of breaking the bank buying brand new stuff, head to your local thrift store or consignment shop. Not only is the merchandise much cheaper, revitalizing older clothes has a much smaller impact on the environment. You could also head to a local LGBTQ+ clothing swap. If you’re going to buy newer clothes, consider brands that recycle fabrics instead of using new ones. This reduces not only the carbon footprint of your clothing choices, but also the impact on clean water. Certain clothing, you may need to buy new, such as underwear. If this is the case, try to purchase from companies who are aware of their environmental impact. For example, TomBoyX, a company that strives to be gender inclusive, has both underwear and swimsuits that are particularly eco-friendly.
Donate your old clothes
We’ve all gone through our closets and found that stray shirt from before we started to transition or found that our favorite jeans no longer fit. Instead of just throwing your clothes away, consider donating them to your local LGBTQ+ center. Many places have TGNCNB-specific closets or clothing swap events, geared specifically towards those of us who are trying to build new wardrobes from scratch. Donating your old clothes doesn’t just help the environment by allowing them to be reused, it helps out other TGNCNB folx who may need a hand. If your local LGBTQ+ center doesn’t have one of these types of events or spaces, consider starting one with the help of some friends. You can also bring your old clothes that might not be salvageable but are still in good condition to places that recycle fabric, such as H&M clothing stores. The fabric is reused to make new clothing and you get a sweet discount for every bag you bring in. Your local psychiatric emergency departments and homeless shelters are also always looking for clothing donations.
Carpool to events
Using public transportation can be tricky for TGNCNB folx. If you are going to an event, consider putting together a carpooling group of your friends and peers. This way, you can not only save money on transportation and contribute less to travel-based pollution, but you can be sure that you are traveling with someone that makes you feel safe. If you and your group feel comfortable taking public transportation, consider taking an Uber, Lyft, or a cab together. Investigate your local mass transit options, and set up meeting places and times to get everyone to local events both safely and environmentally consciously. If you are an organizer and are having an event, suggest ways for your participants to get there or provide transportation such as renting a charter bus or having those individuals who can drive be compensated for gas if they choose to carpool with other attendees.
Consider alternative protein sources
If you’ve started testosterone, you’ve probably been told to increase your protein intake. However, meat isn’t the only option. Depending on your own specific dietary needs, you may be able to limit your meat intake, or even cut it out all together. Diets high in meat have a much greater impact on the environment than ones low in meat, given the amount of water and energy it takes to keep meat sources alive and viable for consumption. Even cutting your meat intake down can cut your ecological impact based on diet in half. Instead, try to utilize protein sources such as sustainably sourced seafood (yes, this is different from meat in terms of environmental impact), tofu, different types of beans, seeds, nuts, peas and even spinach. For those of us that are unable to process milk, or choose not to, there are even plant based protein powders for when you need that extra boost in your after-workout smoothie.
Check out TGNCNB-specific outdoor adventures
Appreciation and understanding starts with connection. Connect with the earth in as many diverse ways as you can, and make sure that your adventures leave things as much as you found them as possible or even better. These types of excursions can be intimidating, especially when you feel like you are alone. Thankfully, organizations such as Camp Lost Boys and the Venture Out Project provide places for TGNCNB folx to connect with both nature and other nature lovers. Camp Lost Boys is a sleep-away camp specifically dedicated to the needs of men of trans experience ages 18 and older, particularly those who feel removed from their communities. They offer some scholarships for attendance and accept all experience levels. The Venture Out Project strives to connect LGBTQ+ individuals with nature-related trips and excursions, particularly on the Pacific Northwest and in New England. The Venture Out Project has trips for both beginner and experienced individuals as well as LGBTQ+ family camping.
Make art, not trash
Some things just can’t be recycled, but that doesn’t mean they need to populate the landfill. If you’ve got a collection of old shirts that you absolutely love (like I do) then consider making them into a quilt or weighted blanket. Make a shadowbox with some of your old syringes or vials to commemorate your transition journey. Try to look for the beauty in things you may have previously thrown away, like a broken pot or an old book with missing pages. Even these small things can help in the big picture.
What are your ideas on how to best love the earth? Share them in the comments below!