We're not all in the same boat

Members of Public Services International´s (PSI) Interamerican LGBTQ+ Regional Committee met virtually for the purpose of discussing the coronavirus pandemic and its effects, particularly on the LGBTQ+ population.

Participants noted that when talking about the pandemic a differentiation is often made on the basis of the impacts on the poor versus the rich, those who have access to water versus those who do not, and those who have good housing conditions versus those who do not. In the case of the LGBTQ+ population, two aspects emerged in the meeting that make this kind of differentiation. One is the situation confronted by people whose orientations are not accepted or respected by family members and yet they are forced to live together under the same roof during periods of physical distancing. This can result in extremely uncomfortable situations and even moral and physical violence.

Another consequence of the current crisis raised by participants is that in many cases members of the LGBTQ+ community are working in precarious jobs and services such as hairdressing, fashion and tourism that are not functioning due to the pandemic. As a result, many people don’t have access to income. In addition, LGBTQ+ workers face an additional obstacle. Sex work is an important source of income that has also been reduced or even eliminated.

A systematic increase in discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ has also proven to be a problem throughout this period. Some have argued that the pandemic is an example of ‘God's wrath’ which has been provoked by the LGBTQ+ community’s gains. Religious entities have even increased their claims that this is part of ‘God's plan’ to "eliminate gays". Living out has become more dangerous for many who are now trying to live more discreetly.

The Regional LGBTQ+ Committee decided to further analyze the impact of Covid-19 based on studies and statistical data. To optimize this work, it decided to meet virtually every two months and not once a year in person as has been the case in the past. The committee will also promote the first meeting of trans trade unionists to be held by the end of 2020.

The participants in the meeting expressed their satisfaction with PSI's global and regional struggle, with the 2020 regional action plan approved and with the continuation of the DGB Project, which will allow for the holding of subregional meetings and, as a result, structured participation in the SUBRACs, a body for which they will be able to submit their proposals. Finally, committee members noted and celebrated the fact that as of last Tuesday, 26 May, equal marriage was legalized in Costa Rica.