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LGBTI community suffers dire COVID effects

Executive Director of the People's Matrix Asssociation Tampose Mothopeng

May 17, 2021 2 min read

2 min read

EVERY individual faces unique challenges to cope with the unprecedented time brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, certain sections of the population like Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community are particularly vulnerable to not only the infective risks of the virus, the Executive Director of People’s Matrix Association has said.

Tampose Mothopeng said the LGBTI population in Lesotho has been historically affected by poverty, lack of health services, unemployment and poorer mental and physical health compared to non-LGBTI people.

He said now the pandemic is having devastating impacts on delivery of services and the ability of already marginalised people to access them.

Mr Mothopeng was speaking in relation to this year commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia, Trans-phobia and Bi-phobia (IDAHOTB) which was held on May 16 in Leribe.  

He told Metro in an interview that this year’s powerful theme – “Together: resisting, supporting healing was chosen in the context of the events and struggles of the past year.

As the LGBTI community, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said they went through a lot of challenges, from unemployment to poverty and being victimised.

“Some were rejected by their own families and parents because the lockdown had forced them to return home, unemployed and others ended up on the streets, especially in Leribe,” he also said.  

The risk he further showed is not new, adding that LGBTI people have been blamed before and the COVID-19 pandemic has not been an exception.

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He said as the health system focuses on putting an end to the coronavirus, other key services for LGBTI community such as mental and sexual counselling became harder to access due to lockdown restrictions.

A recent study conducted by the People’s Matrix Association  shows that the COVID-19 pandemic increases the vulnerability of groups affected disproportionately, and solutions as well as targeted programmes are required from the global community and governments to sustain prevention, testing and treatment services and to help LGBTI community not only to survive but emerge from the crisis.

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