Hasan | LGBTQ Activist | Amman, Jordan
What challenges has the LGBTQ community faced since the lockdown started? Are their needs being addressed?
H: Many transgender, lesbian, and visible LGBTQ individuals already work from home due to discrimination in the workforce causing a lack of employment for LGBTQ individuals in Jordan, particularly transgender individuals. These people do vocational work such as accessory production, catering, and tailoring. They are already survivors in their daily lives since they have managed to create their own home businesses. Due to the quarantine, no one is asking for their services and even if they were, delivery is currently unavailable to supply their goods. Regarding needs, members of the LGBTQ community and myself have tried to raise awareness on Facebook, but there are still limitations due to risks to our own safety.
How has your community/friends/family supported one another during this time?
H: I am happy that I was able to support LGBTQ community members through Facebook to cover the monthly costs of 4 individuals’ needs including rent, essentials, food, and clean water. To be honest, it was in the first 24 hours that I raised 1000 JOD through collective donations. At first, we struggled to find a way to transport the money to the beneficiaries. Until last week, all banks in Jordan were closed so it was difficult, but due to the support on Facebook, we were able to create networks to deliver the money. I do believe there is strong support from the LGBTQ community, my family, friends and the surrounding community on Facebook.
What do you think of Jordan’s response to COVID-19? Do you have any suggestions for future policies/operations?
H: I think the response has been good, but we have to think about how we measure success. Personally, I can easily walk to the supermarket from my house and buy fruit, dairy, and vegetables. But I don’t know if other people are having the same experience. In regards to suggestions, I hope that Jordanian policy will be more inclusive towards minorities in general. This is a time where we need to respond to everyone’s needs equally, it is not a time to deny the rights of a particular group. We need to address the needs of LGBTQ persons because I don’t think LGBTQ persons will be able to apply for government assistance. We are all humans in this pandemic and it is unjust for anyone to face discrimination based on their background. We don’t want this for our country.
What is a blessing to emerge from this situation that didn’t exist before?
H: Quarantine has made me appreciate my family more. Also, when we open our balconies, we breathe in the fresh air because the environment is getting a break. So we should be using energy minimally because of the beautiful effects it has on the environment. Lastly, I am seeing people of all ages and gender identities riding bicycles in my neighborhood. I never expected to see women over 50 years old riding bicycles, but it is a beautiful thing to see. Maintaining these small things after the pandemic is important because we want the air to stay fresh.