LGBT Migrants Are Vulnerable to Coronavirus, But Our Community Can Help

LGBT Migrants Are Vulnerable to Coronavirus, But Our Community Can Help

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Our LGBT communities are impacted in various ways by the global Coronavirus pandemic. Some of us are lucky enough to have a safe place to stay, while others must put themselves at risk by going to work in hospitals, grocery stores and delivery companies. But this crisis has presented us with a unique opportunity to ensure the health and safety of our community, and LGBT people are coming together in various creative ways to make an impact. One such organization, ORAM (Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration), is working to support the most vulnerable among us, LGBT migrants.

We wanted to give ORAM the opportunity to share about the work they are doing for LGBT migrants. If we work together, we can make a collective impact and strengthen our communities.

Immigrants walking before sunset

Read about the work ORAM is doing to support LGBT migrants:

Thousands of LGBTIQ people flee from their homes because of the persecution they face just for trying to be who they are. They must endure in a cramped refugee camp, where there is a lack of fresh water and soap while COVID-19 continues to spread.

It’s a challenging time for all of us. As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, the coming weeks will be difficult and unpredictable for everyone as we worry about those closest to us and our communities. But we cannot forget those LGBTIQ people fleeing persecution.

LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees are one of the most vulnerable and at-risk groups in the world right now. Like other refugees they live in cramped camps where simple hygiene is difficult, health care is basic at the best of times and social distancing and isolation are nearly impossible to achieve. This means the virus can spread fast, with damaging effects.

However, this group is particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, as they have higher rates of HIV in the community, leaving some with weaker immune systems. They live in isolation and are therefore not able to access information on prevention and containment, and are reluctant to seek medical care as they fear facing discrimination from health care professionals.

ORAM — Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration — advocates for the protection of LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees globally. ORAM is currently working with its partners Alight and Mossier to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the LGBTIQ communities they serve in Kenya and at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We’re extremely worried about the outbreak of COVID-19 in the LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers populations we work with,” says Steve Roth, ORAM’s Executive Director. “This community is particularly vulnerable to the outbreak and we must do everything in our power to prevent and respond to the pandemic as quickly as possible. Despite this being an extremely challenging time for our beneficiaries, we have already witnessed many examples of resilience and unity. This is a time for us to come together and support those most vulnerable in our community.”

The ORAM campaign provides urgent support and basic protection to LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers to stay healthy and slow the spread of the virus. To help contain the threat, the community desperately needs access to soap to wash their hands regularly, sanitation supplies like hand sanitizer and protective wear, information so that they can protect themselves and prevent the transmission of the virus and emergency support with living arrangements and food.

You can support these efforts here. Help ORAM reach LGBTIQ asylum seekers and refugees in marginalized communities who are at great risk. This is a moment for our community to come together and ensure that the most vulnerable among us are protected.

Let’s all do our part to support LGBT migrants and the organizations offering them assistance.

Images courtesy of Getty Images

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