Last April 10, 2020, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend) held an online discussion entitled, “Queer and Quarantined: Lugar ng LGBTQI Community sa pagharap sa CoViD19” with GALANG Philippines’ Maroz Ramos, GANDA Filipinas’ Naomi Fontanos, True Colors Coalition’s Jhay De Jesus, and sociologist Andoy Evangelista.
Issues on gender-based violence (GBV), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), persons living with HIV (PLHIV), and the discrimination experienced by the LGBTQI community while dealing with COVID-19 were tackled. Under the lockdown, our chance of contracting the virus is lowered but it does not erase the problems borne of our identities. The risk has doubled for people whose sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual characteristics (SOGIESC) are not accepted by their families, PLHIVs who are having difficulties in accessing medicines and health services, and urban poor LGBTQIs who need to earn a living to provide for their families. These multiple and intersectionality of burdens should be recognized in the narratives of queers in quarantine.
The panellists emphasized that fear and violence is not and will never be the way to solve any crisis. What’s important now, more than ever, is to apply human rights-based approach to address the COVID-19 crisis. A participative, non-discriminatory, and empowering approach, which seeks accountability from our duty-bearers to ensure that every Filipino is protected and treated equally regardless of their SOGIESC.
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