Poverty, unemployment, uncertain future – major consequences of COVID-19 related crises on LGBTI community

Poverty, unemployment, uncertain future – major consequences of COVID-19 related crises on LGBTI community

More than two thirds of LGBTI community (68.5%) is facing obstacles in satisfying at least one of the basic needs – food, housing, job-security. This is the main conclusion of the research “LGBTI community and COVID-19”, implemented by EGAL and Loud&Queer during beginning of April.

The goal of the research, which had a record number of 1198 LGBTI participants, was to determine influences of public-health crisis caused by coronavirus pandemic.

It was assumed that the pandemic will cause great temblor within LGBTI community in Serbia, which turned out to be justified. One of the aspects suggests that 1/3 of the community has suffered from economic consequences.

LGBTI community is struggling with chronic unemployment (one third is seeking for jobs, out of which longer than six months). Additional third has been fired from the beginning of the pandemic, were sent to unpaid leaves, or had significantly lower incomes. Business owners and entrepreneurs (half of them!) had to close or reduce their businesses.

This only means that ½ of LGBTI community will, in the following period, seek for new and/or additional employment, to reduce effects of severe material deprivation, since approximately 2/3 of those affected do not have any income whatsoever.

Urgent support is needed for more than 20% of LGBTI persons – food, water, hygiene and disinfection products, shelter, medicaments, suggest research findings. Moreover, LGBTI persons with chronic conditions have difficulties in accessing regular treatment.

A significant amount of LGBTI persons (every tenth) were evicted from their places of residence, while 5% of LGBTI community members and their families are in the risk of homelessness. It is necessary to point out that majority of these numbers are students, which is considerably reducing their capacities to get formal education in the following period.

1/5 of LGBTI persons are living in fear of violence and/or are exposed to violence and threats in the place where they are settled during the pandemic, with more than a third reporting insufficient privacy in the place of isolation.

More than a half of 1198 LGBTI respondents are facing challenges in relation to mental health, where specific and professional support services are needed.

In the intersection of needs and challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, trans community is especially vulnerable: not being legally visible is making them unable to access basic and other rights and services.

General condition within the community, even before the coronavirus outbreak, was characterized with the highest social distance resulting in numerous economic and social challenges, such as poverty. This notion has to be specifically taken into consideration while assessing the situation and impact of the pandemic.

Joint efforts of civil society organizations and state authorities is necessary to urgently develop packages of assistance for the most vulnerable members of the community during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, while EGAL and Loud&Queer will, in the following period, develop a set of recommendations to address these chronic problems.

The report “COVID-19 and LGBTI community in Serbia”, by authors Boris Milićević and Anđela Čeh can be found here.

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