Providing safe and remote services to LGBTIQ people due to the impact of COVID-19

Rainbow Health Victoria, April 2020

We would like to acknowledge the difficult time we all face with the current public health crisis caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). Overall, older people and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities are known to have significant health disparities, which might influence disease outcomes. These include a greater risk for HIV, certain cancers, asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease, and higher smoking rates.

Accessing available health and community support services is more important than ever for LGBTIQ communities. But barriers to accessing services – for example, expecting or experiencing discrimination – may be heightened at times of stress and upheaval. Rainbow Health Victoria has created this tip sheet to assist in providing safe and inclusive remote services to LGBTIQ people due to the impact of COVID-19.

Resources Project Officer: job vacancy at NAPWHA

The National Association of People With HIV Australia (NAPWHA), March 2020

NAPWHA is seeking a Resources Project Officer to join their team in Newtown, Sydney and deliver two education projects in 2020.

The ideal applicant will have experience developing online learning resources, ideally in the community health sector and for people living with HIV. They will have experience in project management, working with and managing committees, and delivering projects on budget within a clear deadline. They will also be well-versed in the principles of adult education.

If you have high level resource development skills and enjoy working autonomously and collaboratively within a small team, this may be the job for you. People living with HIV are particularly encouraged to apply.

This four-day a week position is for a 12-month fixed-term contract and carries a total salary package of 60-70K pro rata. Salary packaging is also available.

  • Read more about applying for this job, which closes at 4.00pm on Thursday 9 April 2020, at the PDF here: Resources job ad

Sex Work & COVID-19: Guidelines for Sex Workers, Clients, Third Parties, and Allies

Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network and Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a lot of stress and panic, but sex workers are and always have been resourceful and resilient.  We are experts in keeping ourselves and our communities safe. We’ve been doing it for decades! We would like to share our wisdom and learn from each other on how to overcome this current challenge.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many sex workers in a particularly difficult situation. While social distancing is strongly advised, it is particularly challenging for contact sex workers (full service workers, strippers, massage workers, professional dominants, etc), queer and trans sex workers, Black and Indigenous People of Colour (BIPOC) workers at the margins, and otherwise low-income workers to adhere to these
recommendations. We recognize that many sex workers will need to go about their
business as usual. That is the reality of surviving in a capitalist society while enduring
criminalization and stigmatization.

This document follows a harm reduction approach, offering guidelines from various sources to help lower the risk of contact and transmission to those who must continue in-person sex working.

Knowing that each sex worker’s work is unique, we encourage each of our community members to know how transmission occurs, how that fits with your individual work, and what decisions can be made for your specific situation to reduce as many risks as possible for yourself and others.

We have also included guidelines for clients, third parties, allies, and healthcare providers on how to best support sex workers during this time.

COVID-19: A Gender Lens – sexual & reproductive health and gender inequality

UN Population Fund (UNFPA), March 2020

Disease outbreaks affect women and men differently, and pandemics make existing inequalities for women and girls and discrimination of other marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those in extreme poverty, worse. This needs to be considered, given the different impacts surrounding detection and access to treatment for women and men.

Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally and special attention should be given to how their work environment may expose them to discrimination, as well as thinking about their sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial needs as frontline health workers

Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report

Australian Human Rights Commission, March 2020

This Inquiry examined the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, the drivers of this harassment and measures to address and prevent sexual harassment.

Since 2003, the Australian Human Rights Commission has conducted four periodic
surveys on the national experience of sexual harassment. The most recent survey showed that sexual harassment in Australian workplaces is widespread and pervasive.

One in three people experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years.

Underpinning this aggregate figure is an equally shocking reflection of the
gendered and intersectional nature of workplace sexual harassment. As the 2018
National Survey revealed, almost two in five women (39%) and just over one in
four men (26%) have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past
five years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to have
experienced workplace sexual harassment than people who are non-Indigenous (53%
and 32% respectively).

TREATY BODIES: FIVE YEARS OF RESEARCH SHOW INTERNATIONAL LAW INCREASINGLY PROTECTS LGBTI PERSONS’ RIGHTS

ASIA PACIFIC ALLIANCE FOR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (APA),  2020

The United Nations Treaty Bodies are an authoritative source of international law, and have steadily contributed to protecting the human rights of LGBTI persons. A review of their activities in 2017 and 2018, released by ILGA World, shows that references to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) made by the committees have hit an all-time high.

The report on  United Nations Treaty Bodies: References to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex characteristics’ is a comprehensive annual compilation and analysis of all the SOGIESC references made by nine UN Treaty Bodies (CESCR, HRCtee, CEDAW, CRC, CAT, CRPD, CERD, CMW and CED) in 2018, produced by ILGA.
It investigates the Treaty Bodies’ General Comments (interpretations of the international human rights treaties), Individual Communications (complaints brought by individuals or organisations), Lists of Issues (issues and questions sent to the States parties before the main review) and Concluding Observations (country-specific concerns and recommendations).

In 2018, Treaty Bodies made a record high of 138 SOGIESC references and recommendations. This is more than 2.5 times growth from 2014, and active participation of CS groups was one of the important factors contributing to this.  

How did Asia Pacific countries fare?   Here’s all the AP countries under review in 2018, by treaty. 

Highlighted countries received recommendations on LGBTI and/or had civil society reports that mentioned LGBTI :

·         2018 Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights :  Bangladesh, New Zealand (read more on p22)

·         2018 Human Right Committee (ICCPR) : Lao 

·         2018 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women:  Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Lao, Malaysia, Nepal , New Zealand, R of Korea, Samoa  (read more on p. 44)

·         2018 Committee on the Rights of the Child:  Lao, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka (read more on p 57)

·         2018 Committee Against Torture:  [Canada*], Maldives, Russia,  Viet Nam, (read more on p 64)

·         2018 Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Nepal, Philippines, Russia (read more on p 73)

·         2018 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: China, Iraq, Japan, Nepal, R of Korea  (read more on p 80)

·         2018 Committee on Migrant Workers:

·         2018 Committee on Enforced Disappearances:  Japan (read more on p 90)

NOTE: Central Asia was not included in the above listing. Canada was included as there is a member organisation there.