Vulnerability Amplified: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on LGBTIQ People

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This report is relevant for humanitarian practitioners, especially those involved in any kind of emergency relief during the COVID-19 pandemic--be it relief as part of pandemic response, or relief as part of a different response, such as natural disaster--because it presents a stark picture of the global challenges and offers practical recommendations. This report is an important addition to the body of knowledge and data around the experiences of people with diverse SOGIESC during COVID-19.

This report presents the findings of a month long research project by OutRight International. The project included a review of literature and in-depth interviews with 59 LGBTIQ people from 38 countries on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and experiences with State responses and restrictions. The report opens with an executive summary, made up of an overview of the key themes and a summary of the conclusions and recommendations.

The report then moves into an introduction, providing a snapshot of the global context and pandemic. timeline. A discussion on methodology follows, highlighting the limitations of the rapid assessment used during the four-week research process. A background on the differential risks facing LGBTIQ people during times of crisis–such as during various natural disasters and previous pandemics–is provided. The findings of OutRight’s research is then presented.

The seven themes of the findings are: devastation of livelihoods and associated rise in food insecurity; disruptions in health care access; elevated risk of family or domestic violence; increased isolation and anxiety; concerns about elevated societal stigma including violence, discrimination and scapegoating; instances of abuse of state power; and anxiety about organisational survival and need for community support and unity. Each of these themes is explored in detail.

The hardships of the global pandemic are compounded by national circumstance, as is evidenced by respondents from Venezuela, which recently experienced near total economic collapse, for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, and for Ugandan respondents, who cannot get tested due in part to lack of tests, but also as a result of deeply embedded stigma in the health care system. These are just some of the specific challenges discussed in the findings section.

Overall, the report found that the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 is exacerbating the profound inequities experienced by LGBTIQ people. The report concludes with recommendations for governments at all levels; for all donors; for UN agencies and for humanitarian and other relief responders.

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"Among those hit hardest [by the pandemic and response] are many LGBTIQ people, whose lives in numerous places across the world are already shamefully devalued by stigma, discrimination, exclusion, and criminalization. Yet, despite economic hardships and risks to health, the interviews also shed light on the strength, determination, and selflessness of many LGBTIQ people who are finding ways to continue supporting each other."

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This report presents the findings of a month long research project by OutRight International. The project included a review of literature and in-depth interviews with 59 LGBTIQ people from 38 countries on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and experiences with State responses and restrictions. The report opens with an executive summary, made up of an overview of the key themes and a summary of the conclusions and recommendations.

The report then moves into an introduction, providing a snapshot of the global context and pandemic. timeline. A discussion on methodology follows, highlighting the limitations of the rapid assessment used during the four-week research process. A background on the differential risks facing LGBTIQ people during times of crisis–such as during various natural disasters and previous pandemics–is provided. The findings of OutRight’s research is then presented.

The seven themes of the findings are: devastation of livelihoods and associated rise in food insecurity; disruptions in health care access; elevated risk of family or domestic violence; increased isolation and anxiety; concerns about elevated societal stigma including violence, discrimination and scapegoating; instances of abuse of state power; and anxiety about organisational survival and need for community support and unity. Each of these themes is explored in detail.

The hardships of the global pandemic are compounded by national circumstance, as is evidenced by respondents from Venezuela, which recently experienced near total economic collapse, for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, and for Ugandan respondents, who cannot get tested due in part to lack of tests, but also as a result of deeply embedded stigma in the health care system. These are just some of the specific challenges discussed in the findings section.

Overall, the report found that the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 is exacerbating the profound inequities experienced by LGBTIQ people. The report concludes with recommendations for governments at all levels; for all donors; for UN agencies and for humanitarian and other relief responders.