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Green and gay:
Eric Heijselaar

Green and gay:
Eric Heijselaar


Meet a diverse group of eco-queers who honor the same guiding truth: Environmental rights are gay rights. We share one atmosphere with the world.

Eric Heijselaar, actions coordinator, Greenpeace Netherlands, and Steve Erwood, legal administrator, Greenpeace International

Legally married in March 2002, Dutch husbands Eric Heijselaar and Steve Erwood each quit regular day jobs to join Greenpeace. Heijselaar, 35, began as a volunteer climber, working on historic projects such as protesting Shell Oil's dumping of the Brent Spar crude-oil storage rig into the North Atlantic in the mid 1990s. He jumped onto the ship's platform from a hovering helicopter, spending the next six days living with a broken ankle in the gutted facility before Shell abandoned its plan.

This year the couple helped prevent major expansion into the Amazon jungle by five multinational soy traders. (Large-scale soy farming in the production of animal feed has overtaken ranching and illegal logging as the main engine of deforestation.) Of course, their actions have upset more than a few South American businesses, so much so that Heijselaar's recent return to the Brazilian Amazon resulted in numerous death threats. "Being driven around in a bulletproof car was a new experience for me. My part of the job got a bit hairy when I was being fired on with big firework rockets while being on anchor in an inflatable [boat]." But there are also smiles along with the trials. After Heijselaar's arrest with 11 other activists who scaled the walls of Cape Town, South Africa's Koeberg nuclear power station, the duty officer asked if any of them were married. Eric was the only one who raised his hand. When asked for the name of his partner, Eric replied, "Steve." Erwood, 37, who admits he handles the less glamorous paperwork and legalities but keeps his mate and other campaigners well-fed on harsh expeditions, wasn't there, but he says with a laugh, "The look on the policeman's face was, apparently, priceless."

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