This short film highlights the suffering most of us are experiencing due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It is very much designed to affirm what people are feeling and to validate these feelings.
This suffering is new to many of us, but others have experienced it for many years. People who cannot easily leave their homes because of a disability have known the isolation and boredom of staying in place. In fact, some rejoice that finally churches and other public venues are more accessible to them because of Zoom.
And while things are vastly improved for LGBTQ+ people, still I know some who have not seen their children and grandchildren for years. This is not because of a pandemic; it is because of discrimination.
Young people feel trapped in homes. Their closest friends are far away on-line, and they live with difficult and unaccepting parents. As a result, up to 40% of homeless youth in the USA and Canada are LGBTQ+.
Trans women and men and gender non-binary people with great skill and training have lost jobs and remain unemployed and underemployed. And Black, Indigenous, People of Color have experienced overlapping oppressions from society and even white LGBTQ+ people. This has been a big reality for some for a long time.
For some LGBTQ+ folks travel has its own risks and challenges. If someone is unable to get a legal ID with the gender marker that represents who they are, they have boarding planes and in security checks. Some trans and non-binary people avoid large gatherings and some public spaces for fear they will be harassed or even violently attacked.
Older LGBTQ+ plus folks at times are more isolated as they age because of being estranged from family and their resistance to enter retirement communities. While there are more and more LGBTQ+ friendly communities and nursing homes, many are fairly Conservative. People have good reason to feel concerned about how staff will treat them and their bodies as they become more and more vulnerable.
This time of Covid-19 gives allies and supporters of LGBTQ+ people, and LGBTQ+ people who are doing relatively well, an opportunity to fellowship in the suffering of some LGBTQ people. There is still work to be done.
Thank you for all the work you have done to stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ people. I urge you to continue. In your places of worship make space for LGBTQ+. Affirm their gifts, collaborate with LGBTQ+ people and welcome them not simply as guests or visitors but to be a full part of the community of the church. Give money to LGBTQ groups that are doing the work to support people in need. I am a big fan of the Trans Justice Funding Project. And as need increases, so too enlarge your hearts and empathy.
The above is just a short list of the different ways some LGBTQ+ people have been suffering. There are other ways that I have not mentioned and there are other people who similarly have been suffering. Covid-19 gives people a chance to walk in another’s shoes. What are your thoughts and feelings? Your experiences and inputs? Please feel free to comment.
I made the film for the Pride Service at McDougall United Church of Edmonton, Alberta November 22, 2020.
Photo credit: pawel szvmanski