Worldwide, Covid-19 puts pressure on LGBTQ people, LGBTQ advocates

As the world struggles against the new coronavirus, “everyone has the right to life-saving interventions,” UN experts proclaim. Advocates are working hard to make sure that LGBTQ people are included in protections against Covid-19 rather than being shoved aside once again.

This year’s Kolkata Rainbow Carnival has been postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic. The photo is from last year’s event. (Kuntal Chakrabarty photo courtesy of SocialNews.xyz / IANS)

“People with disabilities, older persons, minority communities, indigenous peoples, internally displaced people, people affected by extreme poverty and living in overcrowded settings, people who live in residential institutions, people in detention, homeless people, migrants and refugees, people who use drugs, LGBT and gender diverse persons – these and other groups need to receive support from governments,” 63 U.N. human rights experts united to declare this week.

The announcement came at a time when more than 120 Pride celebrations have been cancelled.

Plans for the first-ever Pride celebration in the Cook Islands were put on hold indefinitely because of the new coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Cook Islands News)

Among them was the first-ever Pride celebration in the history of the Cook Islands, which had been planned for today (March 27).   Pride Cook Islands spokesperson Karla Eggleton said the government had made a “request of reducing events and group gatherings of more than 50 people”. The Te Tiare association decided to put the event on hold indefinitely:

“It was in the best interests of the event as well as in the best interests of our nation that we postpone until further notice for when the country is ready to support such an important event like Pride,” Eggleton said.

In India, canceled or postponed celebrations include the Chandigarh LGBTQ Pride Walk, the Kolkata Rainbow Carnival, and the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.

Internationally, Pride organizers have started working together to see what they can do support far-flung Pride celebrations.

In the Middle East, LGBT groups are stepping up online and phone support for people trapped in abusive homes or struggling with isolation during mandated shutdowns. (See the article “Coronavirus lockdown exposes LGBT+ people to family abuse in Middle East” from Reuters/Openly.)

In Botswana, where the government is struggling to find money to combat the virus, the LGBTQ rights group LEGABIBO urged the government to abandon its appeal of the 2019 ruling that decriminalised consensual same-sex relations, and to focus resources on combatting the spread of Covid-19 instead. (See the Botswana Gazette’s article, “Gov’t too broke to fight covid-19”.)

This article includes information from the latest edition of ILGA’s news briefs, published under the heading LGBulleTin.

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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