LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey
EGAL Serbia and Loud and Queer have conducted a research on the needs and obstacles faced by the LGBTI+ community in Serbia, in face of the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken by the state to combat it. EGAL, which manages also a drop-in center for the LGBTI community in Belgrade, needed this information in order to best design its response to the needs of the community. The survey, which was filled in by a total of 1198 respondents, being thus the biggest sample for the community in the country, reveals the hardships that a considerable part of the LGBTI+ community face in their lives, particularly in safety and housing, mental and physical health as well as employment.
The direct economic consequences of the pandemic were suffered by one third of the LGBTI community members, including half of the businesses owned by LGBTI persons, leading to almost half of the community to be expected to, in the following period, look for a new and/or additional job, in order to downscale the consequences of serious financial deprivation – approximately two-thirds of those affected currently have no income.
More than two-thirds of LGBTI community members have trouble with satisfying at least one of the basic needs - food, housing, livelihood, employment. An urgent support is required for more than 20% of LGBTI persons.
One-fifth of LGBTI persons live in fear of violence or suffer from violence in the place where they are isolated during the pandemic.
More than one third of the community has a very poor assessment of the notion of privacy in the place of isolation, which may be particularly associated with fear of escalation of violence in cases of coming out.
Every tenth LGBTI person had to move out during the onset of the coronavirus crisis, while 5% of the LGBTI community and their family members are at risk of homelessness.
More frequent than every other LGBTI person faces challenges related to mental health, where professional and specific support services are needed.
"COVID-19 and LGBTI communities in Serbia" research results confirmed the assumptions regarding high exposure of LGBTI persons, as a vulnerable social group, to negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, manifested through socio-economic factors (employment and business functioning, housing, basic needs) which increased the risk of poverty in the LGBTI community and further deteriorated the situation. Along with issues of security and protection from all forms of violence and discrimination, a greater need for mental health services both reparative as well as preventive is evident. Civil society organizations and state authorities have to work together in developing different kinds of aid-packages for those who are the most vulnerable and who will suffer the majority of the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, while, in the following period, our team of experts will prepare a set of recommendations to tackle these challenges.