As businesses and social venues across the UK are closing in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it becomes more important than ever to support our LGBTQ+ family. The queer community are particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus due to pre-existing barriers to healthcare, higher rates of immunocompromised conditions and higher rates of mental health issues, which may be exacerbated by self-isolation.
However, self-employed queer creatives are facing an even greater strain, as artistic venues and LGBTQ+ spaces are forced to shut, leaving many freelancers with no steady income or support. Currently, the UK government have failed to address these hardships, beyond advising workers to apply for Universal Credit, which is not a valid solution in the face of such economic strain.
Queer artists and performers have been the backbone of our community and continuously spearheaded LGBT+ movements throughout history. We would not enjoy the freedom we have today if it were not for queer creatives who helped pave the way, and therefore it is imperative we come together and support these vulnerable members of our community. Maybe you didn’t throw the first brick at Stonewall, but you should make the first donation under Covid-19!
Below, we have listed multiple ways you can support yourself or someone else in relieving the social, financial or wellbeing concerns of this pandemic!
Whilst the government has provided insufficient support to freelancers and self-employed individuals suffering from this pandemic, it is still important for these members to prioritise applying for available benefits and to stay updated on policy around housing:
Financial and Social Support
Donating to the below organisations or following their guidelines on how to administer individual care are key starting points for financially supporting the queer community:
- COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK A network of local community groups providing support in the face of this pandemic, find and support your local group or even create one yourself!
- QueerCareA transfeminist autonomous care organisation, providing training and support for queer and trans people in the UK with extensive information on how to support and care for individuals in light of Covid-19.
- SWARM The Sex Workers Advocacy and Resistance movement have provided in-depth resources on coping with financial hardships, household action plans and reducing the rate of transmission.
- Stonewall UK LGBT+ rights charity providing up to date news on coronavirus including an extensive list of LGBT organisations that are providing support and how to get involved.
- Albert Kennedy Trust UK based charity supporting young LGBT individuals facing homelessness and hostility, with a regularly updated catalog of Covid-19 resources.
Alternatively, get involved with online initiatives to support queer creatives more directly through the following crowdsourced fundraising opportunities appearing across social media:
Mental Health Support
Beyond the inconvenience of staying inside and reduced social interaction, self-isolation is taking a particular toll on those already dealing with mental health issues. The following organisations and charities are providing support to combat this:
- MindOut UK-based queer mental health service charity, who are continuing their advocacy and online support services every day during these challenging times.
- LGBT Foundation UK-based LGBT+ charity looking to expand the working hours of their LGBT helpline during this time, alongside offering remote digital support on domestic/substance abuse, talking therapies and group workshops.
- Opening Doors London London-based charity helping LGBT+ over 50 to live social and independent lives. Currently running a telefriending service to support LGBT+ seniors experiencing isolation.
- Galop The UK’s specialist LGBT+ anti-violence charity providing support, advice and advocacy through their helpline, operating on weekdays.
- Switchboard National charity listening to LGBT+ people via their helpline, offering remote advice and support via phone, live chat or email services.
- Consortium The national specialist infrastructure organisation strengthens the LGBT sector and service provision. They offer guidance on delivering services and advice on supporting LGBT+ people and communities in light of Covid-19.
- Samaritans Charity organisation running a free 24-hour helpline for those struggling with mental health – contact them on 116123.
As we collectively take on the responsibilities of social distancing and self-isolation, it’s easy to feel lost and demotivated without access to the fitness and communal activities that usually structure our schedule. The below resources offer opportunities to engage with online communities and to inject productivity and creativity into your day!
- Mind National mental health charity putting together plans for staying home or indoors and offering guidance on personal wellbeing during self-isolation
- Gay Times #undistanced Online digital festival dedicated to LGBTQ+ activities and content to platform, celebrate and connect ideas during this period of social distancing.
- Leeds Queer Film Festival Online directory with links to a variety of LGBTQ+ themed movies, free to watch.
- Mark Kanemura LGBT dancer and creator Mark Kanemura is hosting regular Instagram live ‘dance parties’ (@mkik808) teaching choreographed routines to beloved LGBT pop songs!
- Down Dog One of the multiple yoga apps that is currently free for users to download until April 1st!
- Daily Meditation @omgirlalli and @alexrodiguezyoga are two shining examples of queer individuals currently providing free daily community meditation via Facebook, Instagram live and Zoom.
- PEG Presents: Digital Drag Fest Entertain yourself and support a queer performer by purchasing a ticket to one of these many digital drag shows. Audiences are limited to mimic the exclusivity and intimacy of a personal drag show, and of course tips are still welcome!
- The Proud TrustThis LGBT+ charity for young people has an online tool to find your local youth group, many of whom have created virtual alternatives. You can search for trans-specific, BAME-specific and LGBT+-specific groups through the tool.
If you are looking for further guidelines and information beyond the support listed above we encourage you to check out the below resources: