Society has, of course, has been forced to adapt their entire lifestyles overnight to help tackle this pandemic and protect the lives of those most vulnerable and ‘high-risk’ to the virus. While COVID-19 is imprinted on our psyche, it’s easy for society to forget the ongoing battles we were campaigning against ahead of lockdown. Unfortunately, for the Queer community, although the majority of the population are indoors, the daily challenges we face are still prevalent across the globe and they’re no longer being covered widely enough by mainstream media. It has also been reported that some governments have been intentionally using the current crisis as a ‘smokescreen’ to pass anti-LGBTQIA+ laws.
In Uganda, police raided shelter housing members of the LGBTQIA+ community, falsely arresting them for allegedly breaching COVID-19 distancing rules. Poland has seen parts of the country declared “LGBT-free” zones amid a rise in anti-queer propaganda. The Hungarian government has drafted a law to end legal gender recognition for transgender people. The British government has continued to delay the release of the GRA (Gender Recognition Act) consultation amid a rise of anti-trans groups. And just this month in Morocco, a country where same-sex activity is still illegal, queer people have been targeted on dating apps and threatened with being outed.
Since we cannot assemble in physical space to protest and amplify queer voices, We are asking people to create ‘placards’ that highlight issues affecting the queer community around the world or that spread positive messages celebrating queer people.
In protest of the challenges our queer community are still wrongly facing during this outbreak and beyond, tomorrow, Voices4, a direct action advocacy group, with chapters in New York, London and Berlin, is asking members of the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies to come together online for #QUEERPROTESTATHOME.
“Since we cannot assemble in physical space to protest and amplify queer voices, We are asking people to create ‘placards’ that highlight issues affecting the queer community around the world or that spread positive messages celebrating queer people.” Reads the press release. “They can upload a photo of to social media on Friday 24th April, using the hashtags: #QueerProtestAtHome #StayingInButNotSilent.”
As well as assembling the digital protest, Voices4 will also stage a series of takeovers across their Instagram pages featuring queer activists, such as BRICKS contributor Jamie Windust, Hatter Tarsasag from the Hungarian LGBT group and London-based illustrator Wednesday Holmes.
“The challenges that queer people are facing right now due to the coronavirus global crisis is only exacerbated by the lack of support by our government and the lack of support by our allies during this time.” Jamie Windust tells us over voice note. “We’ve seen LGBTQ+ homeless charities such as AKT and The Outside Project publicly sharing this week that they are having an upsurge in demand yet, having no increase in funding or no increase in support.”
We are all going through stuff, we are all feeling displaced by this, especially as queer people, but we also have to recognise our privilege in our spaces and when other people need help.
Due to social distancing measures, it’s of course, become more difficult to protest to hold governments responsible for their wrongdoings. “It is important that we continue to hold governments accountable for these attacks on queer people, even during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.” Says Voice4. “Our aim is to continue the momentum of queer activists during the virus outbreak, by raising awareness of these issues and amplifying the voices of those who are being silenced during the crisis.”
“I think it’s time now with this protest that we really show our allyship and our support to those most vulnerable. We are all going through stuff, we are all feeling displaced by this, especially as queer people, but we also have to recognise our privilege in our spaces and when other people need help.” Windust continued to tell us.
Keep up to date with the Queer Protest on Voices4’s Instagram accounts and get involved by using the hashtags #QueerProtestAtHome and #StayingInButNotSilent, see the full list of speakers below.
Names of speakers (confirmed so far) Jamie Windust Stuart Feather – Gay Liberation Front original member The Outside Project Lambda Szczecin (Polish LGBT group) Adam EliEddine, a queer activist from Morocco Hatter Tarsasag (Hungarian LGBT group)