A few days ago, the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation. It is now clear that this is a world-wide health emergency, and difficult and uncertain times are ahead for many of us.
It is in times like these that we are reminded of what communities are made of: the power to support each other, and to bring others close even when we’re physically forced apart. As you all reminded us last year, we are stronger together!
We at ILGA World are thinking of you, and wishing health and safety to you and your extended families and loved ones. We know all too well how LGBTI persons can face unique challenges during a health crisis – especially the most marginalised amongst us - when stigma, discriminatory legislation and prejudice can rear their ugly heads even higher.
Now more than ever, this is a time for solidarity: let’s commit to continue to look out for each other.
We are here!
Please rest assured that we will continue to support our global LGBTI family as our staff work remotely for the next few weeks.
Because of COVID-19, we have had to make some difficult choices: UPR Advocacy Week at the UN is cancelled. The 5th International Intersex Forum has been postponed; the Pan Africa ILGA regional conference has also been tentatively pushed back to the final quarter of this year. Our work will need to adjust. But we will be there for you, as always.
What can you do?
How is your activism going to change under these extreme circumstances? How are you re-organising your work, and reaching out to communities on the ground?
ILGA World will soon share a list of resources to help you: tools for smart working as you adjust your working lives, names of e-learning platforms, software to conduct webinars and so many more. But we also want to think of your wellbeing as many countries are increasingly shutting down, isolation will become a concrete risk. This is why we will also create a list of queer-themed books, podcasts, shows, movies and music to enjoy while being at home. If you have tips to share, send them to [email protected] and we’ll add them!
We do encourage you to follow the guidelines by the World Health Organisation and find their answers to the FAQ. We need to look after our mental health at this time, take breaks from the endless stream of news on social media and develop ways to be safely connected with support.
If you can, please also consider donating to survival funds, including those supporting our communities and those who don’t have a safe home to isolate at. Indeed, we also know that for some of us isolation will either not be possible or simply not safe.
Check in with others in your local communities to see how you can be there for them. We may be physically isolated, but we will not be socially distant!
We are #inthistogether
We all hope that these uncertain days will soon end but the next weeks might be emotionally heavy. Small actions can make all the difference. ILGA World will be calling on your help to help others...
If you have a message that you feel can help in raising someone’s spirits, note it down and be ready to share it. We will soon ask you to join our campaign on social media creating positive messages for our LGBTI communities everywhere. Because we are #inthistogether, we are stronger together and we will make it through as a community that takes care of each other.
Luz Elena Aranda, Tuisina Ymania Brown
Co-Secretaries General, ILGA World
André du Plessis
Executive Director, ILGA World