On the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Malta's LGBTQ+ NGO's published a joint video with an intent to reach out to the individuals within the LGBTQ+ community here in Malta that are in dire need of support during this particular time.
The 5 NGOs are: Allied Rainbow Communities, Malta LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, LGBTI+ Gozo, Checkpoint Malta & Drachma LGBT/Parents' Group.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people may be particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. People living with compromised immune systems, including some persons living with HIV/AIDS, face a greater risk from COVID-19. Homeless persons, a population that includes many LGTBI people, are less able to protect themselves through physical distancing and safe hygiene practices, increasing their exposure to contagion (UN Human Rights Report, 17 April 2020)
Notwithstanding Malta's top ranking in terms of LGBTQ+ Rights and improved lived experiences as reported in the FRA 2020 LGBTI Survey, the NGOs are being faced with cases of mental health difficulties, de-prioritisation of sexual health services, financial constraints, racism, family tension and solitude.
Whilst these are challenges being experienced by cis-hetero people as well, we have already seen:
LGBTQ+ health related services such as the Gender Wellbeing clinic being stopped indefinitely;
the further delaying of the long-overdue updated HIV treatment;
LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees being stuck with homophobic co-habitants;
Due to stay-at-home restrictions, LGBTI youth are confined in hostile environments with unsupportive family members or co-habitants. This can increase their exposure to violence, as well as their anxiety and depression;
For many LGBTQ+ single adults who find emotional support and belonging through friends and community events, have now been restricted in terms of maximum of people allowed to meet from different households.
LGBTQ+ Sex workers fearing stigma and prejudice to reach out for support and not being able to get any financial support.
LGBTQ+ Elders who are living alone and have no family members to look after them.
The NGOs believe there are many more cases out there in dire need of support but are fearful of reaching out or lost where to seek help. In the past weeks, various representatives of these organisations began communicating together virtually to discuss specific cases where one organisation got stuck so that the other organisations can step in for support and pooling of resources.
The video hopes to reach the right audiences and encourage people to seek support. For the english-speaking readers, the following is a translation of the video message:
“We, representative of LGBTQ+ NGOs in Malta, have one message to share
We are here!
If the current situation is putting you in any sort of difficulty:
Whether it’s a need to talk to someone
You’re on the vulnerable list and need someone to deliver you essentials
Amongst other things…
MGRM, ARC, LGBTI+ Gozo, Drachma & Checkpoint Malta are joining forces & resources to help those that need support.
Don’t be afraid to reachout
We are here!
The NGOs would like to thank Matthew Pace from the Deaf People Association Malta for adding their sign language to the video message.
Services offered by Allied Rainbow Communities are shown in the gallery below. In additional, they are donating €10 with each new paid-member signing up to a charity of their choice. You can become a member of ARC here
The Rainbow Support Services consists of a professional team of social workers and counsellors ready to support LGBTQ+ people in various areas.