Resources for LGBTQ Communities and Advocates Navigating COVID-19

May 1, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is like nothing we have lived through before. As the global community faces this challenge together, we are ever aware that people are experiencing it differently across geographies, occupations, and identities.

LGBTQ+ people face particular risks because of discrimination in healthcare settings, high rates of immune-system-compromising conditions, and higher rates of tobacco use than the general population. But we can be proactive about supporting our communities and minimizing harm.

More than 100 U.S.-based organizations signed an open letter from the National LGBT Cancer Network and national LGBTQ health equity organization GLMA that outlines ways to reduce disparate impacts, such as expanding access to welcoming healthcare providers and supporting LGBTQ-identified health centers.

Year in and year out, our Social Justice Program grantee partners are working to increase the safety, inclusion, and acceptance of LGBTQ people. As we have communicated previously, we face this pandemic together, and Arcus is committed to maintaining our support to these essential organizations through this pandemic—offering flexibility, transparency, and understanding if timelines and priorities shift as groups respond to pressing needs. Others looking to support queer communities in this time will find abundant wisdom and resources from Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Global Philanthropy Project.

Read on for links to Arcus partners who are offering practical tools, opportunities to connect, and information from experts who view the pandemic through a queer lens.

Resource hubs
Look to these organizations for aggregated lists of information and services for LGBTQ communities in specific geographic areas.

A SAGE webinar about COVID-19 and LGBTQ older adults

Equality Federation, which connects LGBTQ advocacy organizations across the United States, refreshes its COVID-19 Resources page with articles and webinars on topics like how to help homeless youth during social distancing, and how to fundraise in the face of fear, uncertainty, and canceled events. They also link to state-level pages like Equality Arizona’s Social Hub, a place for queer people to connect during the pandemic via digital co-working, book clubs, discussion groups, and drag and comedy events.

In Jacksonville, Florida, JASMYN is offering online support groups and services including to-go food bags for queer youth. The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico’s drop-in center is open with reduced hours to provide essential services, including healthcare and case management.

Trans and gender nonconforming people in South Africa can find mental health resources along with tips to access food, helplines, and more in Gender DynamiX’s COVID-19 Information Kit.

LGBTQ communities in Latin America and the Caribbean can make connections and find helpful information via ILGA LAC.

In this episode of Campaign for Southern Equality’s Front Porch series, CSE’s Director of Healing and Resilience Holiday Simmons moderated a panel featuring members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Identity-based tools for navigating the new normal
Needs vary across our diverse communities, and these organizations offer targeted resources for trans people, elders, homeless youth, and intersex people.

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Know Your Rights Guide for Transgender People Navigating COVID-19 provides tips and contacts to help trans people safely access health care, stimulus payments, emergency shelter, and more.

Transgender Law Center’s Life-Planning Documents for Trans People explains how documents like advance directives can help ensure that legal, medical, and end-of-life wishes are followed in the case of serious illness, with links to digital forms for power of attorney and other critical documents.

For those working with homeless youth, Point Source Youth is offering weekly webinars and downloadable toolkits on topics ranging from fundraising to supporting rural youth.

A screenshot of an episode of OutRight TV

A scene from an episode of OutRight TV featuring a conversation with OutRight International’s Caribbean Program Officer Neish McLean and Alijah Caesar, a transgender activist and registered nurse from Guyana on the frontlines of COVID-19.

SAGE’s many offerings for queer elders include the webinar LGBTQ Older Adults and COVID-19, featuring speakers from SAGE, Human Rights Campaign, and Lambda Legal. The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, a project of SAGE, is also regularly updating documents and links for LGBTQ older adults, their caregivers, and their allies.

The intersex community can turn to InterACT for tips on seeking medical care, books to read and things to watch while staying at home, and resources for homeschooling.

Ways to come together online
Fabulously creative community organizations are finding myriad ways to help queer folks connect and nurture resilience during social distancing.

ILGA World’s digital postcards are spreading messages of positivity to the global queer community. Share your own here.

OutRight TV brings you the voices of LGBTQ people and allies facing the pandemic all over the world. The video and podcast series features informal conversations about real life right now. OutRight Action International’s Caribbean researcher Kennedy Carillo talks to her wife, Kiki Carillo, about caring for home and family in Belize during the crisis. In another episode, Alijah Caesar, a trans man from Guyana, speaks to fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines as a nurse. Outright International‘s COVID-19 webinar series covers the crisis in different regions, with a focus on pressing issues faced by LGBTQ communities.

An ILGA digital postcard submitted by LITHA from Pan Africa ILGA. Over a background of two hands almost touching, the message reads, 'Dear Queerblings, Our work and identities sometimes cause us to be isolated from the rest of society. With the measures put into place to curb the spread of COVID-19, social distancing can take many of us away from our support systems and chosen family. In this time of discomfort and alienation, please remember to practice kindness to yourself and others; check in with your queer family and remember that you are not alone. To those forced to isolate with homophobic family, remember the friends and chosen family that love you. In this difficult time, let us use our energies to take care of ourselves and check in with queer friends in difficult positions.

One of ILGA’s #InThisTogether digital postcards, meant to lift the spirits of LGBTI communities around the world during coronavirus

Join Transgender Law Center for virtual community gatherings on topics like resistance to ableism, Black transwomen and femmes on the frontlines of the crisis, and community grief.

The Front Porch: Virtual Gatherings for the LGBTQ South offers online support groups, presentations on topics like healthy cooking, indigenous and rural perspectives on the crisis, and more. The series is brought to you by the Campaign for Southern Equality, which is also making rapid response grants to LGBTQ individuals, families, and community organizations being impacted by the pandemic across the U.S. South.

Honoring queer high-school and college graduates who can’t celebrate together in person this year, GLSEN and Human Rights Campaign will host a virtual LGBTQ graduation ceremony May 8.

We’ll close out with an opportunity to tap into a sense of calm in turbulent times via Global Interfaith Network’s weekly prayer sessions. In a recent broadcast, Imam Muhsin Hendricks, who founded South Africa’s first LGBTQ-friendly mosque and safe spaces for queer Muslims, offered pathways to “create internal peace and to restore the peace in our environments and in our communities,” reminding listeners:

“When we are at peace within ourselves, we are better able to deal with the turmoil that surrounds us.”