Most countries around the world are under lockdown, due to coronavirus. Because of which, many youngsters have found themselves in isolation, with parents who refuse to accept their sexuality. The LGBTQIA+ people getting stuck with their homophobic families is turning into a global issue. Some advocacy groups cautioned earlier this month, that Middle East lockdowns are forcing LGBTQ people to be stuck with their homophobic relatives.
Read on to know some of their stories.
SAM THE GAY DANCER, WITH MANY DREAMS:
Sam, a 23 year old gay dancer, said that he had no other option but to come back home to his family who are “strict” Christians. The coronavirus outbreak has pressed pause on the UK tour he was performing in. “I saw the career I love disappear overnight, and now I’m stuck in isolation with homophobes”, said Sam in a talk with the BBC News.
He explained that it is very difficult for him to stay at home, since he cannot be himself.
“My mum says that homosexuality is an evil disease and that the devil is making me gay. She loudly prays every day that I’ll be delivered from sin and find a wife. I genuinely have nowhere else to go during this mad time, so I’m just putting up with the abuse”, he explained.
When he was in university, Sam came out to his folks, assuming he would never have to live with them ever again. “They didn’t take it well at all and time hasn’t changed things,” he added. His dad warned him to be “careful” of men like Sam, homosexual men, when he informed them about working in the theatre.
THE COMMUNITY DOES NOT REMEMBER HIM, FEELS SAM:
“I see on social media that people are so busy filming home workouts, and holding online parties, that they don’t realise there are people like me struggling to stay alive right now. Not because of the coronavirus, but because of their sexuality”, said Sam. He thinks that the LGBT community has totally forgotten him and others like him, who are struggling with homophobic families and relatives.
NICKY THE MARKETING ASSISTANT:
A nineteen year old marketing assistant Nicky is a lesbian, who is from London. She was “outed” as gay to her family, because of a family friend. She was immediately asked to leave home, by her mother and mother’s partner. This was because they refused to agree to her “lifestyle decision”. Nicky was allowed back, only after she began to experience mental health issues.
“Living with my homophobic family is like having flatmates you don’t like. You don’t talk to them, you just get on with your life.” Since Nicky had a busy work schedule, she would wake up early and get back home very late. She rarely spent time with her family. But this pandemic has disrupted her peace.
“I used to spend as much time out of the house as I could. With the lockdown, everything has changed. I can’t believe it. I’m not allowed to eat the food my mum and her partner buy. My mum’s partner talks about me as if I can’t hear him. He says I’m disgusting and he hopes he doesn’t catch what I have”, explained Nicky to BBC News.
Although she did plan to move out in April, Nicky is now in a state of confusion since she lost many shifts at work and has no clue where that leaves her.
“As bad as it is at home, I just can’t afford to move out. I’m using the deposit I saved up just to get by. I need to wait for all of this virus stuff to be over before I start trying again”, she Nicky.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE:
Services at Albert Kennedy Trust aka ‘akt‘ supports LGBT youngsters in the community who are homeless. The director, Lucy Bowyer, said that they are currently providing support to almost 130 youngsters. This also includes a large number of sixteen-seventeen year olds, who reached out for help and contacted them last week.
“Over the last few weeks we have been receiving an especially high volume of referrals from young people,” she said. “Our services team is adapting to the current climate by providing e-mentoring services, live chats and online hubs to ensure we are there when young people need us.” She said that their charity is arranging safe housing along with host families, and also providing vital resources like phone top-ups, food and others.
Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, Paul Martin said that youngsters believe that “they have no one to turn to”, at the moment. “I strongly encourage them to reach out to us, where they will find a listening ear. We’ve got a helpline helping highly vulnerable people and providing that support at an increasingly challenging time”, explained Paul. He also added that the charity is “launching a telephone befriending service to support LGBT people who are highly vulnerable.”