Responses of our members and partners

Last update: 7 July 2020

TGEU has 148 member organisations across Europe and Central Asia in 46 different countries. These include a variety of groups from trans-led groups to LGBT organisations, non-binary, sex workers rights, trans refugees focused groups and more, all advocating for trans rights.

We need to emphasise that trans people are extremely vulnerable in the COVID-19. In times of crises, it is those living in the margins that suffer the most. We know that trans communities are – and will be – disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Those who are the most marginalised are out of jobs or about to lose them, are experiencing homelessness or housing instability, are forced to shelter with abusing or rejecting families… and more. Many trans people report that they need necessities such as food, toiletries and medical supplies. For some communities, their situation is locally worsened by external factors such as the situation for trans people in Zagreb who faced on 22 March 2020 the biggest earthquake in 140 years that affected some people’s homes.

In these challenging times, most of our members are actively working to support their local trans communities and protect human rights to the best of their capacities and abilities. As TGEU, we want to support them and raise visibility on the crucial activities, actions, statements and/or recommendations they organise in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on each organisation’s backgrounds and contacts (website, Facebook or Twitter) can be found on our dedicated page and interactive map.

Below is an overview of what our member organisations are going through, and how they cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, followed by a short survey for members who wish to share with us their current situation as well. This page will be updated regularly. This input is shared by our members (Staff, volunteers…), and is in no way exhaustive.

Right Side NGO

Local situation as reported:
In Armenia, trans people are experiencing stigma and discrimination, even in their own home; some of them live with compromised health conditions and immune system and most of them are in professional and/or financial insecurity and engaged in sex work. Hence, the local community is currently facing a socio-economic crisis ranging from unemployment, lack of state and societal support, as well as lack of access to relevant and responsive healthcare.

Updates on the organisation:
As a community-led organisation, Right Side NGO is seeking efficient ways to overcome these challenges and support the local community. However, the lack of (quick) support from their donors forced them to cancel projects, activities, meetings and campaigns. For the organisation, it has become difficult to carry out programs, be visible, raise awareness and raise funds to support trans people’s and sex worker’s needs as well as to secure community members, supporters and allies. For now, they are assessing new ways to re-adapt the organisation’s activities.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Direct communication with local trans communities.

TG-House

Local situation as reported:
The government is not providing proper reaction to the pandemic and no preventive measures are implemented. The local trans community is facing complications with accessing hormones and getting appointments with medical providers. Most of them are out of jobs and are in a situation of financial insecurity. Governmental decisions actively contribute to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation in the country by holding mass events such as the “Victory Parade” and the football championship.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Awareness raising campaign to bring attention to the pandemic and its impact on the trans communities;
  • Protection supplies distribution;
  • Regular check-in with members;
  • Humanitarian assistance in cooperation with Trans Coalition on post-soviet space;
  • Provision of legal and peer counselling.

TransAid

Local situation as reported:

The local community reported issues such as being obligated to be in their homes with unaccepting or even violent families; not being able to get their hormones because they cannot afford them (either because they lost their jobs or because they were buying their hormones in other countries where it is cheaper than in Croatia and now they are not able to travel to those countries); overusing binders because they are never alone at home; losing housing because they can’t afford it anymore or because their house was destroyed in the earthquake that hit Zagreb and surrounding area on March 22. When it comes to the LGR procedure, the National Health Council is not allowed to have their monthly meetings which means that they are not processing requests for gender marker change. Unfortunately, there are numerous community members who sent their requests before the crisis, but since the National Health Council is almost always late with processing requests, these persons still don’t have their opinions. Like many other medical procedures, mastectomy for trans persons that was performed in one hospital in Croatia is stopped. Also, all post-operational examinations are postponed.

Further details:
When reached out to by TransAid, they said if the crisis lasts longer (without specifying what they consider as “lasting longer”) that they will find a solution to process requests (again without specifying how). When reaching out to the psychiatrist who issues opinion for LGR, TransAid has been said that he is continuing sessions online with persons who already started the process with him, but he does not accept new persons at this moment. Also, since he recently introduced the consilium of psychiatrists and students of psychiatry, who basically confirm his opinion, it is impossible to get the final opinion because the consilium does not meet. The psychologist who issues the opinion for LGR organizes online sessions for persons who already started the process with her, as well as for other persons who need support and/or want to start the process to have her opinion ready to send to the National Health Council when possible. Similarly, the endocrinologist is communicating online with persons who already started the process. He wasn’t sure, but there is a great possibility that it is impossible to do all the tests necessary before starting hormone therapy, thus he is not able to start the process with new persons. 

Updates on the organisation:
The whole team is working remotely and, because of the crisis, TransAid’s Deputy Executive Coordinator and new Advocacy Team Coordinator, who are both associates and not full-time employees, are now fully involved in all work and planning. The team is currently in the process of revising its operational plan, as well as their budget, to plan in accordance with the situation. As the government is announcing that certain restrictions are expected to last up until the end of the year, so most of our plans revolve around this information.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Focus on community support (especially financial support or those who can’t afford hormone therapy);
  • Organisation of online support groups; 
  • Monitoring activities (especially in the healthcare system) ;
  • Advocacy work towards the National Health Council to process requests for LGR.

Acceptess-T

Local situation as reported:
As other Southern European countries, France is one of the countries most impacted by the COVID-19 virus. The French government has declared a state of emergency: the population is under complete lockdown for at least 2 months (March 15 – May 11) and the government provides little (if no) support to those who lost their jobs or work opportunities. The authorities (police and military) are checking people’s authorisation whenever they go out. Reported cases of police brutality, particularly against Black and People of Color (BPoC) and/or sex workers has drastically increased. The country is going through the biggest economical recession period since 1945 and the pandemic’s socio-economic consequences are already hitting the poorest communities (mostly BPoC and/or Gender Non Conforming people). The most marginalised trans communities (trans people who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability, those who are poor and professionally and/or financially insecure, sex workers, undocumented migrants) are severely lacking food, medical supplies and support as well as shelter. Many trans people are forced to stay in the same living space with unsupportive relatives whereas some others are sheltered in rooms or flats they can’t afford anymore. They are not able to access trans-specific healthcare (especially related to medical transition) and there are massive delays processes.

Updates on the organisation:
The organisation has refocused most of its work and their volunteers work toward a COVID-19 community response. They are supporting the most vulnerable people and provide daily support. Through this project, more than 520  community members received direct support and more than 1000 food packages have been delivered.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Creation of a dedicated email address: covid19@acceptess-t.com;
  • Creation of crowdfunding campaign to support the most marginalised people within the trans community;
  • Distribution of food and medical supplies, mostly for trans women, sex workers and/or undocumented migrants (isolated and/or out of job);
  • Translation of resources and information on COVID-19 in Spanish and Portuguese.

Colour Youth

Local situation as reported:
The local trans community is deeply impacted by the several police controls undergone by the government as a national security plan. The trans community has a history of traumatic experience of harassment by the Greek police. Furthermore, local groups and organisations are raising awareness on how social distancing is disproportionately affecting the LGBTQI+ community. In this regard, the national Transgender Support Association sent a letter to the vice minister of Citizen Protection to advocate for the protection of LGBTQI+ people’s Human Rights and existence under the COVID-19 outbreak.

Updates on the organisation:

The organisation is adapting their 2020 activities to the situation by working remotely and pivoting towards an online presence. Despite the challenges, they succeeded in organisation their first online General Assembly. However, the organisation is worried about potential financial challenges as they expect to lose income from donations that usually come during local Prides (postponed).

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Publication of a statement on how social distancing disproportionately affects the LGBTQI+ community;
  • Provision of supportive statement to any person whose legal ID document doesn’t match their gender identity or expression;
  • Preparation of online working groups and an open forum with members.
  • Capacity Building support for members-driven projects (e.g. guide to support LGBTQI+ people sheltered with violent or abusive relatives).

Alma-TQ

Local situation as reported:
In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Kazakh government has declared a state of the Emergency. As the country is under complete lockdown, the trans local community is facing problems that they were not prepared for. Many are left without jobs or means of livelihood. The high level of transphobia in Kazakhstan exposes the community to a high risk of homelessness. Those sheltered with intolerants relatives are facing psychological and physical violence, while those whose legal ID doesn’t match their gender identity or expression are being increasingly discriminated against due to new systemic measures of police controls. As most of the public institutions, banks and businesses have been closed, medical and social services are not available until further notice. Isolation leads to increased anxiety and constant stress, which also negatively affects community members’ mental health.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Launch of free online consultations with medical providers (incl. psychologists) and lawyers for trans people;
  • Provision of humanitarian assistance to the local community (distribution of food and medical supplies/hormones).

Labrys

Local situation as reported:
The local trans community is in dire need of food, shelters and trans-specific medical (especially hormones) and non-medical supplies. The situation is worsened by the travel restrictions imposed by the government between cities and within the capital itself.

Activities run by the organisation:
Labrys is implementing activities jointly with Kyrgyz Indigo, The Grace and AntiAIDS Association.

  • Community needs assessment;
  • Distribution of food package, hormones and hygiene product;
  • Communication with and outreach to further marginalised regions.

Malta Gay Rights Movement

Local situation as reported:
´The community is facing high risks of homelessness as shelters are closed and do not accept new people to limit the spread of the virus. The community is also facing a lack of medical supplies and healthcare support – both trans-specific and non-trans-specific. 

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Facilitation of community needs assessment;
  • Bridge the gap between the local gender clinic and the local community;
  • Focus on online peer-to-peer support for trans people in precarious situations and provision of food, shelter, medical supplies and legal counselling;
  • Creation of a database for LGBT housing to prevent homelessness.

Asocijacija Spektra

Updates on the organisation:

To follow the recommendations made by WHO on slowing the COVID-19 spread, the whole team is now working remotely. The organisation is working closely with Trans Mreža Balkan on re-programming already planned activities (Transposium, Raising Visibility Training) and is exploring their virtual feasibility. Check regularly their website and social media to get updated.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Focus on online support groups and online peer support for the local trans community;
  • Focus on online self-recorded campaigns for social media. Check out their TDoV campaign.

GRIT – ILGA Portugal

Local situation as reported:

Since the declaration of a state of emergency, the population is under lockdown and people’s freedom of movement is drastically reduced. Many community members are forced to live with unsupportive relatives. There is a big difficulty to access trans specific healthcare (related with medical transition) and many appointments in the hospitals were postponed to an unknown date. The community is facing many difficulties derived from being socially isolated. The invisibility is hiding situations of domestic violence towards individuals. With the economical crisis, there is a lot of uncertainty and financial difficulties. The most marginalised trans communities (poor people, undocumented migrants, sex workers and professional or financial insecure) are experiencing homelessness and housing instability, lack of food and medical supplies.

Updates on the organisation:

Following the recommendations made by WHO on slowing the COVID-19 spread, the whole team is now working remotely. We are adapting all the activities to verify their virtual feasibility. The organisation is now having a strong presence on social media, continuously advertising services that are able to assist LGBTIQ+ community.

The organisation is offering a peer-to-peer support group – exclusive for trans, non-binary and in questioning people – that now meets exclusively online. GRT  increased the number of meetings from every other week to a weekly basis and is now working in connection with another trans and non-binary organisation.

Activities run by the organisation: 

  • Reinforcement of their trans support group (weekly basis)
  • Pivotation towards a fully online presence
  • Reinforcement of the communication with the community
  • Reinforcement of services (e.g. LGBTI hotline, psychological support)
  • Facilitation of peer-to-peer support with other organisations
  • Dissemination of trans-related content (recommendations, services, hotline and online networks)


TransMissão: Associação Trans e Não-Binária

Local situation as reported:

The pandemic has worsened the situation of trans people. Many community members are economically vulnerable, losing their sources of income and struggling to pay for food or rent.

Updates on the organisation:

TransMissão went fully remote and had to cancel events around TDoV (clothes swap, Free Cece screening, gathering…) as well as and long-term projects (trans youth camp for the summer). The Pride was cancelled as well, so were their Trans and Intersex Bloc which couldn’t be held this year. They are working closely with other local queer organisations as GRIT/ILGA Portal (joint projects and joint meetings).

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Organisation of several community events, e.g. around TDoV, as well as one online make-up workshop with a trans make-up artist;
  • Organisation of online workshop on hormonal self-injections;
  • Participation in the COVID-19 trans and intersex peer support network providing support for basic needs (food, shelter, medicine, financial support).

ACCEPT

Local situation as reported: 

Many of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community have lost some of their sources of income due to the crisis. The increasingly authoritarian and militarized approach to fighting the epidemic in Romania has led to an increasing use of police force and higher fines, leading to several cases of police abuses. In Romania, since late March 2020, it has only been possible to go outside one’s home with a declaration that states where and why you are going. The police are allowed to stop you at any time and check this declaration, along with your ID which leads to several cases of discrimination, unjust fines and degrading behaviour from police officers, who already had a history of prejudices and unjust treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. The situation can be even more difficult for trans and non-binary people, since, for some community members, the legal name and/or sex marker do not match their social name and/or gender expression. Two important issues are affecting specifically the trans community:

  • All courts of law are frozen to all non-urgent matters, which includes legal gender recognition. As such, for the duration of the pandemic and the state of emergency, no legal gender recognition can occur.
  • Regular medical checkups for medical transitions have stopped. The military ordinances strictly forbid non-urgent procedures, and the psychiatric evaluation and the endocrinologist visits are not included in urgent procedures, despite the detrimental effect on mental health for trans people.

Updates on the organisation:

The organisation has been pivoting their activities towards a reactive COVID-19 response. Their priority has been to focus on covering the basic needs of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. ACCEPT is aware of the disproportionate effect the crisis will have on trans people, especially since the community was already discriminated against in employment and at work. Thus, the organisation contacted key community members to make sure their campaign reaches trans/non-binary people who most need it. In this respect, they identified four categories that needed urgent support: queer and trans artists; sex workers; older LGBTQ+ people (65 and above); LGBTQ+ people with low, unstable or no sources of income.

Activities run by the organisation: 

  • Creation of the project  “Here for the Community” which aimed to give supermarket food vouchers to people who were most at risk during this time. Through this project, they supported 49  community members with a total of 10.000 euro in food vouchers. Out of the 49 people we supported through the project, around 20 identify as trans/ non-binary.
  • Publication of a statement about police abuse under COVID-19 encouraging the community to cooperate with the police (so that the police do not use excessive force) and to record the interaction when possible. The organisation encourage anyone who is the victim of abuse to reach out to them.
  • Organisation of online parties called QUEERantine to support the community of LGBTQ+ independent artists, many of whom are non-binary and trans, who often did not have contracts and gained their income from one-time gigs/performances.
  • Online support groups: one LGBTI-support group, one trans-specific. Both are well populated and we have noticed that various trans people started hosting their own online meetups. This is an upside of social distancing measures.

T* Revers

Local situation as reported: 

The situation in the region of the country is getting worse as the new rules of quarantine are being implemented. The current system does not allow receiving trans-specific healthcare support and medical supplies (especially hormones) as it is not considered as a prior need and most pharmacies do not provide hormones. 

Updates on the organisation:

The organisation is adapting their 2020 activities to the situation and is seeking for funds to respond to the needs of the trans communities.

Activities run by the organisation: 

  • Creation and dissemination of a needs assessment survey;
  • Increased the number of peer support groups online;
  • Provision of psychological and legal counselling;
  • Implementation of webinars with lawyers (Q&A).


Human to Human Initiative Group

Local situation as reported:

The local trans community is going through a huge lack of food, medical supplies and access to hormones. Trans people are facing complications with accessing their usual prescriptions, getting appointments with medical providers, including attending their psychiatric counselling. Several activists in the region have already lost their jobs. A significant part of the migrant and/or sex worker communities are living in rented rooms or flats they can’t afford anymore and are facing risks of homelessness. Another part of the community is sheltered with relatives who do not accept their identities and are hence facing abuse ranging from emotional to physical violence. Some community members do not want to reach support services or hospitals as their legal ID documents do not match their gender identity or expression. Even those whose documents match are worried about their trans identity being outed as the trans community has a history of traumatic experience of discrimination with local medical providers.

Updates on the organisation:

The group has been pivoting towards online activities. However, is these times of crisis, they are facing financial challenges(e.g. affording their office rent).

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Open office hours for psychiatrists and endocrinologists to use their offices and provide offline appointments; 
  • Provision of job opportunities to trans psychologists in the frame of the organisation’s projects;
  • Provision of psychological counselling for Eastern Europe and Central Asia based individuals.

Geten, Center for LGBTIQA People’s Rights

Local situation as reported:

The COVID-19 crisis in Serbia is to some large extent similar to the one other countries are facing and hits harshly every aspect of the community health, financial and economic life. Nevertheless, one thing that separates Serbia perhaps from other more developed countries is its pre-existing weak socio-economic context, which made trans and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) people specifically at risk to be severely impacted by such a socio-economic crisis. As the majority of trans and GNC people hold precarious jobs mainly in the service industries, in this new crisis they were most of the times the first ones to be let go of as the government declared measures of complete lockdown and limited people’s freedom of movement. Due to this economic catastrophe, trans and GNC people the organisation works reported many cases of jobs, incomes and housing loss and are struggling with accessing necessities such as food, shelter, disinfection means and protective masks and gloves. In the context of the state of emergency, as all medical providers are re-stationed in other COVID-related services, the trans community is facing great difficulty in accessing trans-specific healthcare services. Regular check-ups with endocrinologists and psychologists have been cancelled, and trans people cannot continue with hormone therapy, which causes serious mental health issues. Geten have contacted by health institutions in charge of trans-specific healthcare provision and informed that online consultations will be made available. Geten has also contacted relevant ministries to inquire about government support for trans and GNC people.

Updates on the organisation:

Following the first international responses to the COVID-19 on March 11th and even before the Serbian government’s incentive to stay home and practice social distancing, the organisation decided to start working remotely. The organisation has been adapting certain services and pivoting towards online individual psychological consultations and trans self-support group. The LGBTIQ SOS Helpline is functional both via landline and mobile. For any media activities or ongoing project, check their website and social media accounts. As a first reaction, the organisation translated the manifesto “A Movement to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic Self-Quarantine” to Serbian. It explains the situation and provides a set of recommendations on how to behave responsibly, and has since been translated into numerous languages. The organisation is adapting their 2020 activities to the situation and is seeking funds to respond to urgent pandemic-related needs of the Serbian trans community.

Activities run by the organisation: 

  • Focus on online support through direct services (individual psychological consultations, trans support group, Facebook messaging and email consultations, LGBTIQ SOS Helpline) and online peer support for the local trans community (LGBTIQ Chat, Geten’s website forum);
  • Increased media reporting related to COVID-19 and trans and/or Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) people’s positions and rights;
  • Publication of a Trans visibility and Legal Gender Recognition (LGR) campaign;
  • Close communication with the Cabinet for transgender states in Belgrade to obtain the latest updates regarding trans people’s endocrinologist’s and psychologist’s appointments and their postponement for the near future, as most medical providers have been mobilised for pandemic’s response. The Cabinet’s answer to Geten’s request for information can be found here;
  • Support and dissemination of Trans Hamburg’s survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trans health & trans health care. The study survey in Serbian can be found here;
  • Monitoring and mapping of latest updates on trans people’s rights and LGR (e.g. in Panama or in Hungary);
  • Support fundraising campaigns run by trans community members to raise funds for necessities (food, medicine, hormones, etc.).

Cultural, informational and counselling centre Legebitra

Local situation as reported: The access to hormone therapy has become more complicated, as the healthcare facilities have been shut down or limited their services due to measures taken to limit the spreading of COVID-19. Transgender individuals in Slovenia mostly get their hormone injections administered by their doctors or endocrinologists. With the limitation of healthcare services, individuals who needed a hormone injection in the last weeks experienced some difficulties with getting in touch with healthcare professionals and arranging the administration of their hormones treatment.  Updates on the organisation: The whole Youth Center has been moved online. The organisation is currently solving these problems case by case, with advising individuals to contact their doctors at least one to two weeks before their date of the next hormone treatment. They have not experienced specific difficulties with transgender individuals, who receive their hormone treatment in the form of a gel, as they only need a prescription and can administer the treatment themselves. Activities run by the organisation:
  • Focus on online office hours, forum to discuss and coffee time;
  • Creation of a monitoring campaign to assess the local situation and broader developments in the country; 
  • Focus on online campaigns and activities (self-reflection activities, Livestream on social media, group work). Check out their online activities for TDoV;
  • Creation of podcasts for the LGBTQI+ community focusing on COVID-19, social isolation and recent local political developments.

TransAkcija

Local situation as reported: Many trans people are forced to stay in the same living space with unsupportive relatives. They are not able to access trans-specific healthcare (especially related to medical transition) and there are massive delays processes. The community is lacking social and community events.  Updates on the organisation: All the organisation’s activities that were already planned will either be organised online, postponed or cancelled. New activities are developed virtually. However, the organisation is forced to stop most of its advocacy work due to the quarantine and the state of Slovenian politics. Further information about their situation can be found here. Activities run by the organisation:
  • Urgent fundraiser for essential living supplies for trans women, delivery of food and hygiene products to remotely located trans women;
  • Immense increase of online counselling and new users from all over Slovenia;
  • Development of bilingual Queerantine Zine (to be launched for IDAHOBIT);
  • Implementation of various online events, including an event about online security.

Chrysallis

Local situation as reported:
As other Southern European countries, Spain is one of the countries most impacted by the COVID-19 virus. The Spanish government has declared a state of emergency: the population is under complete lockdown since the 14th of March and the population’s freedom of movement have been drastically limited.

Updates on the organisation:
The organisation is adapting their 2020 activities to the situation by working remotely and pivoting towards a strong presence on social media. They are specifically focusing their work on providing support to those who are sheltered in unsupportive households.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Provision of personalised peer-to-peer for community members in mental distress;
  • Coordination and facilitation of peer-to-peer support with other trans-focused organisation;
  • Publication of articles on the impact of Covid-19 on trans people (e.g. on trans people sheltered with abusive or unsupportive relatives);
  • Creation of a TDoV online campaign  #PonUnaBanderaTransEntuBalcon (#PutAFlagOnYourBalcony). Check out their website;
  • Creation of a storytelling campaign of young trans people coping with confinement (@juventudchrysallis). Check their Instagram;
  • Creation of two closed WhatsApp groups for trans youth (12-14 years old, 15 years old and above).


Trans Policy Group from FELGTB  (GPT)

Local situation as reported:

The local trans communities are not able to access trans-specific healthcare (especially related to medical transition) and there are massive delays processes despite the attempt to organise teleconsultations. Surgical waiting lists are frozen as well as administrative processes related to names’ and gender markers’ changes as it is not considered as a priority. Trans sex workers (mostly trans women) are running out of income and are financially and professionally extremely limited by the lockdown. Young trans people with unsupportive relatives are forced to shelter in a transphobic environment, which is damaging for their mental health.

Updates on the organisation:

The COVID 19 health crisis has changed the organisation’s way of working as they pivoted their activities and actions towards online platforms. Many of the member organisations of the federation GPT is part of have created crowdfunding to distribute necessities for trans people in a precarious situation, homeless or at risk of becoming.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Creation of Linea Arcoiris, a telephone helpline for isolated LGBTI people sheltered in unsupportive environments with the provision of psychological counselling;
  • Creation of the Espacios Arcoiris, online sessions to share information and experiences about challenges the LGBT community is facing during COVID-19;
  • Publication of press releases based on a community assessment needs (list of trans-specific demands to the Spanish government); 
  • Peer-to-peer support with partner organisations working with trans people at risk of social exclusion.

LighT

Local situation as reported:
Tajikistan is severely impacted by COVID-19. Like other Central Asian countries, the country is under total lockdown, even though national measures (protective measures and border’s closures) have been taken quite late in comparison with other countries of the region. Since the end of April, the virus is spreading rapidly.

Updates on the organisation:
Since the beginning of the quarantine, LighT has been receiving several requests from local partners and trans-activists. The most urgent needs are humanitarian: hormones, medicine, food. LighT is supporting those needs at the best of its capacity.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Provision of humanitarian assistance to the local community (distribution of food and medical supplies/hormones).

Red Umbrella

Local situation as reported:
Since March 2020, the country is under quarantine. Trans people are facing increasing domestic violence due to the isolation period; unfortunately, it is challenging to monitor domestic violence cases in trans populations because of their invisibility.

Updates on the organisation:
When the government confirmed the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face counselling services had to be stopped due to strict social isolation measures. In March, Red Umbrella had to shift to remote work and adapt their services to the new circumstances. Red Umbrella is trying to develop new partnerships with organisations that focus on gender-based violence to collaboratively raise awareness about increased domestic violence in the times of quarantine as well as a new law on execution of sentences that can lead to impunity.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Creation of a 24/7 hotline for trans people and sex workers for one-on-one counselling and legal consultation services;
  • Information and recommendations sharing (texts and visuals) with members through social medial, hotline and online networks with a focus on wellbeing and protective measures. You can check some of their posts here and here;
  • Publication and dissemination of a needs assessment survey focusing on sex workers in both registered and unregistered fields. The outcomes of this assessment will inform Red Umbrella’s activities planning.

TransgenderNI

Updates on the organisation:

The organisation had to temporarily close the Belfast Trans Resource Centre in response to the crisis, and have been pivoting towards online support. They are currently looking at different ways to support their local community.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Focus on online community support (advice) and advocacy;
  • Creation of a trans-only online platform for daily chats and weekly meetups.


Spirit Level

Local situation as reported:

It looks like the government wants to roll back transgender rights at the moment, targeting single-sex spaces and transgender youth. This is a worrying outlook for the proposed Gender Recognition Act reforms, which trans communities had all hoped would make things easier and more dignified for transgender people. Additionally,  anti-transgender groups are attempting to remove schools’ transgender policies are threatening legal action against schools.  While the press still mostly appears hostile, Spirit Level is starting to get more positive/balanced transgender articles being reported in some outlets. There has been a lot of activity locally and nationally by trans people and allies to bring attention to this. COVID-wise, some people are feeling particularly isolated at the moment, which makes Spirit Level’s online meetings particularly important. Gender Identity clinics, already a source of frustration in our country due to long waiting times, are almost all suspending first appointments.

Updates on the organisation:

The organisation can’t currently meet in person, so they are holding virtual meetings. Their COVID is consistent with their ongoing advocacy work.

Activities run by the organisation:

  • Communication with national stakeholders;
  • Direct communication with local trans communities and partner organisations with a special focus on most isolated community members.

Trans Mreža Balkan – Western Balkan

Local situation as reported:

Hormone access is one of the most widespread problems. People either cannot get hormones at all, or they can’t access the ones they are prescribed. People cannot go to their doctors any more (psychologists/psychiatrists, endocrinologists), and they’ve had surgeries postponed or cancelled, including post-surgical check-ups for recently completed surgeries. Some trans people have had to stop in the middle of the process of changing their documents. Community members are facing a lot of isolation, loneliness, some people living completely alone, and some living with or going back to live with transphobic families. For those who are poor and professionally and/or financially insecure (sex workers, free-lancers), the COVID-19 crisis is adding further economic hardships (free-lancers, sex workers…). End of March, the situation was aggravated in Zagreb because of an earthquake that undermined even more housing situations. 

Updates on the organisation:

The organisation had to postpone their yearly Community gathering Transposium to 2021 in response to the crisis, and have been pivoting towards online activities. 

 

Activities run by the organisation:



Trans* Coalition on post-soviet Space 
– Post-soviet region

Local situation as reported:

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), trans and non-binary people’s situations are getting worse because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The main challenges are:  

  1. Sharp decrease in income which makes it impossible to pay rent, afford hormonal therapy, groceries, medications and other basic life essentials;
  2. Meaningful decline in psychological wellbeing related to stress, fear for own health and future, psychological violence, threats of physical violence, uncertainty, bodily issues, issues with starting or continuing transitioning;
  3. Medical issues: issues with receiving prescriptions for hormonal therapy, medication for mental health issues, other medications; lack of funds for medications and doctors; lack of access to doctors and significant fear of ending up in the hospital and receiving quality care in case of contracting COVID-19; lack of reliable information about COVID-19 and its risks for trans and non-binary people;
  4. Bullying, misgendering, pressure from relatives and other people who cohabit with survey participant during the quarantine; lack of alternative housing or impossibility to move between countries or regions;
  5. Lack of access to doctors, psychologists, partners and other trans and non-binary people; lack of affirming communication;
  6. Trans and non-binary people with intersecting vulnerabilities are in a particularly dire situation. Trans and non-binary people who are poor, sex workers, migrants, live with chronic health conditions and HIV report acute psychological distress.

Activities run by the organisation: 

  • Creation and dissemination of a community needs assessment survey;
  • Food and hormones distribution in partnership with local trans groups and NGO; 
  • Creation of a monitoring campaign for trans human rights violations EECA region;  
  • Creation of a database gathering services available in the region; 
  • Creation of crowdfunding campaign to support the most marginalised people within the trans community.

If you are a member organisation and want to share your local situation as well – Please, fill in the following survey (approximately 10 minutes) and we will make sure that your input is shared above. 

Do you want to become a member organisation? Please, check our dedicated page.