Queer Communities

Effects of the pandemic on queer communities in Germany

After one year of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, LGBTIQA+, queer people & families in Germany suffered a severe hit by the socio-economical and political crisis.

This report focuses on the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on queer communities in Germany. 

Here are some of the key findings:

Community Structures

  1. LGBTIQA+ associations offer counseling and support groups. These services had to be adapted to infection control measures. Sufficient financial resources were not always available for digital alternatives.
  2. LGBTIQA+ clubs, pubs, and events are safer spaces for queer people who often experience discrimination in other places.
  3. Short-term and long-term closings without alternatives result in the loss of important community places.
  4. Especially in schools, queer education projects impact knowledge, awareness and debates on gender, sexual and romantic diversity. These projects are partially financed, partially organised on voluntary basis.
  5. The digitalisation of workshops often failed due to the lack of financial resources of the associations. The insufficient technical equipment in schools slowed down digital offerings as well.
  6. Many associations fear that public funding for their educational projects will be reduced or cancelled in the coming years as a result of budget cuts. They were already in difficult financial situations before the pandemic and were therefore dependent on temporary project funding. Upcoming budget cuts could affect queer associations heavily.

Mental Health

  1. The pandemic is particularly distressing for people with pre-existing mental health struggles.
  2. The necessity for psychotherapy has increased but there are not enough therapists who are sufficiently professionally skilled to address discrimination topics properly.
  3. Health authorities’ contact tracing methods and the digitalization of many areas of life increase the risk of unwanted coming outs and stress that marginalized groups are confronted with on multiple levels.
  4. Many trans* people avoid contact with the health system due to experiences of discrimination and pathologization.
  5. This limits their health care and particularly affects people who experience discrimination on multiple levels.
  6. In some cases, first name and personal status change procedures are delayed for an unforeseeable period of time and gender reassignment surgeries are postponed during the pandemic or canceled without an alternative date. This puts an enormous psychological burden on the persons concerned.
  7. Especially lesbian women, trans* and intersex people are affected by poverty in old(er) age as they experience discrimination in the labour market and through the pension system.
  8. Therefore, they rely on support networks within their communities which are already facing great disadvantages through the pandemic.

Political Agenda-Setting

  1. In order to combat the pandemic, all people are urged to limit their contacts and stay at home. However, the definition of private sphere mostly applies to cis heterosexual families.
  2. The regulations for contact restrictions are defined among this image of a ‘standard’ family. This limited definition of family disadvantages ‘non-standard’ families, including many LGBTIQA+ and queer families.
  3. Physical and sexual intimacy are restricted to combat the pandemic. Exceptions to this apply to stable (heterosexual) couple relationships. Other forms of relationships are not being included.
  4. The effects of those restrictions are hardly featured as a topic in the public debate.
  5. Many queer people are particularly affected by isolation and loneliness.
  6. Right-wing movements are using the pandemic to promote their propaganda. More and more people are turning to conspiracy ideologies.
  7. For example, if gender equality and anti-discrimination work is defamed as a ‚luxury‘, budget cuts in LGBTIQA+ project funding are legitimised. All these ideologies are based on Anti-Semitism, Racism, Anti-Feminism and LGBTIQA+ hostility.

Lockdown Restrictions

  1. Negative coming-out experiences can be direct or indirect reasons for homelessness of queer people. 
  2. Facilities for homeless people are often unable to guarantee the protection of LGBTIQA+ people, especially for trans and intersex people.
  3. Moreover, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in collective accommodation centres is very high.
  4. Many LGBTIQA+ refugees experience violence and stigmatisation in the accommodation.
  5. There is no internet in many collective accommodation centres. Residents cannot use digitalised community and counselling services.
  6. The loss of external community services means additional isolation and loneliness with negative effects on mental health.
  7. Support offers and especially low-threshold, outreach help for homeless people were drastically reduced in the pandemic.
  8. In some cases, legal counselling on asylum procedures have been paused or stopped during the pandemic without alternative dates or solutions.

The report is published by:

The booklet can be ordered here (for free): info@bundesverband-trans.de 

And is available here (in German):

https://mh-stiftung.de/wp-content/uploads/BMH_Corona-Auswirkungen_Doppelseiten.pdf

https://www.bundesverband-trans.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BMH_Corona-Auswirkungen_barrierefrei.pdf

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