Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!

Message by Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Today, the 17th of May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia. This year’s theme is “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!”

The powerful theme was chosen due to the recent challenges that the world has faced this past year.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer people and people in all their diversity continue to face high levels of violence and inequalities. Punitive laws continue to criminalize their behaviours, identities and gender expressions. Stigma and discrimination is still pervasive and jeopardizes their access to health, education and work.

The coronavirus pandemic has widened inequalities and amplified the challenges they already face. COVID-19 affects everyone, everywhere. But those most marginalized feel it more.

For some LGBTIQ, isolation and lockdowns have been particularly challenging, even dangerous, as they have experienced an elevated risk of domestic and family violence.

Lockdowns and movement restrictions compounded the difficulties LGBTIQ already experienced in accessing antiretroviral therapy, HIV prevention and gender-affirming services, including hormone therapies. More so, many people are unable to work, secure income and support themselves and their families.

But, despite these challenges, across the entire Asia and the Pacific region, LGBTIQ organizations and individuals are showing us stories of courage, solidarity and resilience, as they are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response providing support to the communities and catering for the needs of the most vulnerable.

LGBTIQ organizations and individuals are integrating HIV and COVID-19 response by ensuring continuity of HIV prevention and treatment services. 

As we observe the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, I call on everyone to join the movement for social justice, equality and equity so that all people can live with respect and dignity.

UNAIDS Asia Pacific will continue to work with LGBTIQ-led organisations across the region to ensure everyone can thrive as equals.

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