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The blame game: disaster, queerness and prejudice

Ashleigh Rushton (University of the Fraser Valley – Chilliwack Campus, Chilliwack, Canada)
Jazmin Scarlett (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 2 May 2023

Issue publication date: 12 July 2023




The purpose of this article is to draw attention to how harmful and inaccurate discourses pertaining to disaster responsibility is produced, the negative implications such narratives pose and the role of the media in the ways in which discourses about queerness and disaster are reported.


Throughout this paper, the authors detail examples of media reporting on discourses relating to people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) being blamed and held responsible for disasters across the world. The authors examine the value of such reporting as well as describing the harm blame narratives have on queer people and communities.


There is little value in reporting on accounts of people publicly declaring that people with diverse SOGIESC are to blame for disaster. More sensitivity is needed around publishing on blame discourses pertaining to already marginalised communities.


This article contributes to the developing scholarship on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, agender, asexual and aromantic individuals, plus other gender identities and sexual orientations (LGBTQIA+/SOGIESC) and disasters by detailing the harm of blame discourses as well as drawing attention to how the media have a role to play in averting from unintentionally providing a platform for hate speech and ultimately enhancing prejudice against people with diverse SOGIESC.



The authors sincerely thank the two reviewers for providing constructive and invaluable feedback on this article. The authors would also like to thank Matthew Hodson and Slap Upside the Head for their permission to use their images within this article.


Rushton, A. and Scarlett, J. (2023), "The blame game: disaster, queerness and prejudice", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 352-363.



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