Learning from LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 in the UK for future crises

Recommendations to policymakers and practitioners for more inclusive strategies.

Billy Tusker Haworth.

Brief Summary

This policy brief highlights the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and other queer identities (LGBTIQ+) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. While LGBTIQ+ people experience unique vulnerabilities linked to pre-existing marginalisation, their needs are often overlooked in crisis response strategies.

This brief offers recommendations for improving the care and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people in future crises based on lessons learned during the pandemic. The brief summarises key challenges faced, and the coping capacities adopted by LGBTIQ+ people.

Their main concerns were related to mental health and isolation, including isolation from support networks and identity-affirming spaces. Sub-group specific challenges included disrupted transgender healthcare access, employment impacts, and “one size fits all” guidelines and government communication approaches that did not align with the diversity of LGBTIQ+ families and lives. Many of the coping capacities interviewees relied on were drawn from prior experiences of surviving marginalisation or distress. Participants, in particular, highlighted the importance of LGBTIQ+ organisations and community and peer-support groups.

Future policy interventions for providing effective support during crises should strengthen existing coping capacities, community groups and support services. Policies and strategies must also better-recognise diversity within LGBTIQ+ communities and other minority groups.

This policy brief:

  • Outlines key challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ people during COVID-19;
  • Identifies coping capacities used by LGBTIQ+ people to deal with the pandemic;
  • Emphasises the necessity for more nuanced and inclusive crisis response strategies that encompass LGBTIQ+ needs and that recognise diversity within minority communities;
  • Provides recommendations for improved strategies, such as delivering increased and targeted mental health support and maintaining transgender healthcare.