International Transgender Day of Visibility: COVID-19 and transgender persons with disabilities

International Transgender Day of Visibility: COVID-19 and transgender persons with disabilities

On International Transgender Day of Visibility EDF raises awareness of many challenges and human rights violation, transgender persons, including those with disabilities, face in their everyday life.

Trans persons with disabilities have faced more barriers than usual since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues include denial to healthcare, difficulties in receiving disability support and trans-related care, and increase of violence.

This is an extract from EDF Human Rights Report on COVID-19 (slightly edited for this article).

Since the pandemic outbreak, the organisations ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe (TGEU) have been reporting that the LGBTI+ community is, and will continue to be, disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex persons are being negatively impacted by the virus itself, the healthcare system, and healthcare providers. When accessing healthcare, they face barriers which are increasing during the crisis. This impact is being felt most severely by the most marginalised LGBTI+ population.

In times of health crisis and care rationing, LGBTI+ people, and particularly trans people with disabilities, are being specifically targeted by triage policies. They are being denied life-saving care and face difficulties in receiving disability support, in addition to the already major struggles trans communities face with general and trans-related healthcare access. Cuts in care provision combined with the discrimination most trans people face while trying to access healthcare is seriously impacting their health and wellbeing. For instance, trans persons with disabilities may have faced difficulties in receiving disability support and trans-related care such as genderaffirming hormones and up-to-date prescriptions. The fact that gender affirming medical and surgical procedures have been put on indefinite hold may also have seriously impacted the health and wellbeing of trans people.

In addition, (…) trans persons have seen an increase in domestic violence. Lockdown has condemned trans people to live in close proximity with sometimes transphobic relatives. LGBT+ persons with disabilities were at higher risk to face both homophobic/transphobic and disability specific violence. Trans people who have not told their families yet about their gender identity may have been experiencing mental health difficulties during lockdown.

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