The BBC News website has documented how, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, some LGBT+ people have been forced into lockdown isolation with homophobic parents and guardians.
Ben Hunte, the BBC News LGBT+ correspondent, spoke to young people who are experiencing increased stress as a result of co-habiting a space with intolerant guardians. Among them is Sam, aged 23, who is a dancer from Birmingham.
Not only has Sam had to grapple with the disappearance of his career overnight, but also with a mother who loudly prays that he will be “delivered from sin and find a wife.”
He says: “My mum says that homosexuality is an evil disease and that the devil is making me gay. I genuinely have nowhere else to go during this mad time, so I’m just putting up with the abuse.”
Sam came out to his parents while at university. He believed he would never have to live with them again. When Sam began pursuing his chosen career, his dad told him be “careful” of homosexual men. He continues: “They didn’t take it well at all and time hasn’t changed things.”
“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.”
Hunte also spoke to Nicky, 19, who is a marketing assistant based in London. She was previously kicked out her home by her mother and her mother’s partner after a family friend had outed her. She was allowed back home after experiencing mental health issues. Nicky’s work schedule had meant that she rarely saw her family. However, with self-isolation, she has had to deal with them head on.
“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,” she tells Hunte. “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.”
Nicky has had to use the money she was saving for a deposit on new rental accommodation to get by. She now needs to wait until the pandemic is over to save again.
It is known that LGBT+ people are disproportionately affected by mental illness. Young members of the LGBT+ community may find themselves under increased stress at this time for having to live in lockdown with homophobic parents and family members.
GCN has recently published a guide on how to deal with anxiety and stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also a plethora of supports available to vulnerable LGBT+ people, listed below, and many offer instant messaging support.
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