COVID-19 crackdown on LGBTQ global community
LGBTQ communities around the world are experiencing a COVID-19 crackdown, with sexual or gender minorities being blamed for the spread of the coronavirus.
This can be seen recently in South Korea, when news outlets started outing gay men who tested positive for the virus.
COVID-19 pushing crackdown against LGBTQ people
Patrick Strudwick, BuzzFeed UK LGBT Editor, warned that the LGBTQ people are becoming the new scapegoats for the coronavirus.
Strudwick pointed out how the recent outbreak in Seoul was blamed on gay men when a Christian newspaper reported how the new cases had visited nightclubs in the Itaewon area that were gay venues.
“Not all of those diagnosed were gay, and not all of the nightclubs linked to the new cases were gay venues,” Strudwick noted.
Meanwhile, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that with the pandemic, there is an “increase in homophobic and transphobic rhetoric.”
Likewise, the Eastern European Coalition for LGBT+ Equality warned of increased “vulnerability to violence and discrimination” of the community due to “higher level of surveillance and police and military presence.”
Social media attacks fueling COVID-19 crackdown
As mentioned previously, a Christian newspaper notorious for its attacks on LGBTQ people in South Korea spread the news about the Itaewon outbreak and this spread in both mainstream media and social media.
Meanwhile, a same-sex marriage advocacy group found many LGBTQ people in Japan anxious about public exposure if health officials demanded contact tracing information.
Strudwick said, “The dissemination of fake news is enabling LGBTQ people to be blamed for the coronavirus pandemic wherever social media flourishes.”
For example, a Facebook video of a supposedly packed gay dance party in Italy was actually a carnival in Brazil in 2018 with partygoers wearing rainbow-colored shirts as proof of paid entry.
The video, which had been shared a thousand times, was spread with this comment: “God has every right to be angry with humanity, this was the last gay conference in Italy before the virus attack.”
Gov’t forces move against the LGBTQ community
Meanwhile, another video footage came out this month of police in Uganda raiding an LGBTQ shelter. The local mayor and the police had arrested 18 people with offences related to social distancing.
The shelter’s program director said the lockdown measures were “an opportunity to get rid of us.”
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban passed new executive powers that allowed the government to introduce a law that would end gender recognition via legal documentation reverting to sex at birth.
This is also happening in Puerto Rico as a new “civil code” is being proposed to keep birth certificates and other forms of ID as they are despite a 2018 court ruling.
“In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and the wave of violence affecting transgender people in the island, Puerto Rico’s legislature chose to prioritize a flawed new Civil Code, without the benefit of public hearings or an open process,” said Lambda Legal.
COVID-19 crackdown exposing transgender people
In Georgia, police were accused of using lockdown restrictions to brutalize a trans woman and her friends under the guise of being on the street after curfew.
In Columbia and Peru, policies were introduced ordering men and women to leave the house on separate days. This led to trans women being challenged or attacked for being outside on the “wrong” day.
In Greece, trans women sex workers that don’t have full legal recognition were blocked from getting any financial assistance because only those with female documentation were deemed to be working legally.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-and gender-diverse people, who are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the poor, the homeless, and those without healthcare, will be deeply impacted by the pandemic and, unless we take urgent action, this impact will be felt over generations,” said Víctor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN’s Independent Expert on Protection.