IDAHOT 2020: discrimination is on the rise during the corona crisis

May 11, 2020

In the run-up to IDAHOT on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we’re sharing stories from the countries where Hivos is committed to the LGBT community.

In more than 25 countries, we work with LGBT organizations and activists. That collaboration often goes back decades. Slowly but surely, we are working on change. But now, during the corona crisis, we hear disturbing stories about increased discrimination and exclusion.

“This crisis makes it clear once again that no disaster affects people equally. Groups that were already at the margins of society before the outbreak of the coronavirus are now being hit hardest,” says Justus Eisfeld, specialist in sexual rights and diversity at Hivos. Three other Hivos specialists explain what they now see happening in their regions:

Andrew from Kenya

“In East Africa, the LGBT community has been severely affected by the corona crisis,” says Andrew Maina from Nairobi, Kenya. “Stigmatization and discrimination are increasing. LGBT people are accused of causing this pandemic. The result is that they lose their jobs, struggle to get food and shelter, and have limited access to health care. With increasing depression and suicide attempts as a result.”

We see how vulnerable groups like the LGBT community are even more excluded.

Kayla from the Philippines

“Like other parts of the world, we have been hard hit in the Philippines by the corona crisis,” says Kayla Lapiz, who works for Hivos in the Philippines. “We see how vulnerable groups like the LGBT community are even more excluded. Many of them have lost their jobs. Some are hit hard mentally because they are all alone. Others are victims of domestic violence and abuse who are forced to live with the perpetrators.”


Sergio from Costa Rica

Sergio Montealegre works from Costa Rica for Hivos Latin America and the Caribbean. “The COVID-19 outbreak is making social inequalities and the discrimination against LGBT people, particularly trans persons, more and more evident. For example, there are measures that determine when you have to stay home and when you can go outside, based on your sex. This has major financial implications for those who rely heavily on their daily income to meet basic needs. ”


Nalumino from Zambia

Nalumino is the coordinator for the Hivos-led Strong in Diversity, Bold on Inclusion program in Lusaka, Zambia. “The LGBT community in Zambia faces a number of challenges, including state and church-sponsored homophobia and a lack of access to socio-economic services. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis this has further worsened.”

Showing solidarity during IDAHOT

We call on everyone to show support for LGBT people around the world during IDAHOT. Andrew explains why that is important: “We need your support so we can make sure the LGBT community stays strong and doesn’t give up. Together we can break the silence and speak out against the stigmatization, discrimination and persecution of LGBT people.”

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