Every Saturday this month we will feature some of the best articles by young people from our SOUK workshops on Political and Media Literacy. Today’s article on the struggles of the LGBT+ people is by Ish.

During this Covid-19 outbreak society has been impacted, especially those belonging to minority groups. The LGBT+ Community is one such minority group that has been seriously affected.

There are around 1.1 million LGB people and 200,000-500,000 trans people in the UK.

However, this number is likely to be an underestimate and does not account for other groups in the LGBT+ community.

Domestic violence, isolation, mental health issues and homelessness are just some of the problems LGBT+ people are more vulnerable to compared with others. And this is the pre-Covid-19 situation.

Now that Covid-19 is here, and here for a while, how has this affected the LGBT+ community?

The news reports that domestic violence has risen during lockdown. The LGBT Foundation has received a 30 per cent increase in calls related to domestic violence. It is a fact that LGBT+ people are more at risk of domestic violence when they are living with someone who is phobic.

During lockdown, many LGBTs (owing to unemployment or reduced income) have had to move into accommodation where people may not be accepting. This is especially true for the younger generation.

The facts

  • According to Stonewall, 4 in 5 LGBT+ people do not report hate crime (or indeed domestic abuse) to the police.
  • During isolation there is a higher risk of LGBT+ people not being able to access the healthcare they most desperately need.
  • Gender identity clinic referrals and assessments have been put on hold, making the transition process difficult and placing greater strain on a person’s mental wellbeing.
  • Some members of the community are more at risk of HIV. This means their immune systems are compromised so any virus, such as the present coronavirus leading to Covid-19, could potentially become deadly if contracted.
  • Due to LGBT-phobic fears some are staying away from healthcare facilities all together. If one such person were to develop Covid-19 they would be less willing to get help.
  • Many of the LGBT+ people who are homeless are unable to access the care they may need in times of illness.
  • Research has shown that LGBT+ people are more commonly affected by mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Support services, communities and close allies have all been forced to postpone or severely restrict their support due to lockdown requirements. Those affected by mental health have been more vulnerable during this time.
  • It’s not only finances, employment, isolation and health worries for LGBT+ people. There is lack of support, structure and safety during lockdown. LGBT+ people are more likely to experience suicidal ideation and self-harm thoughts. When help is lacking, there is a high risk of these thoughts being acted upon.

What now?

It’s fair to say that the pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone during 2020. However, there is concern that the LGBT+ community are at a higher risk of experiencing negative consequences as a result of the lockdown.

That’s not to say good work isn’t being done by charities and allies who are aiming to provide the support LGBT+ people need during this time. There are pushes being made for everything from better LGBT+ healthcare in general to more affordable life insurance for people across the board.

It is clear that Covid-19 will change the way we all function for the foreseeable future. But while trying to resolve our own problems, we mustn’t forget about the minority groups who are struggling equally, if not more.

By Ish

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