Medical Health Care Providers and LGBTQI in Nepal
LGBTI individuals with possible symptoms of the Corona virus infection may hesitate to go to hospitals for testing or treatment due to the fear that they will be mistreated with prejudice. It is a common experience of the LGBTI community to face discrimination, harassment, unnecessary interrogation and mockery at the hands of care providers.
Discrimination in Quarantine Centers
Many LGBTIQ have already been discriminated at quarantine centre in different parts of the country for their sexual or gender identities. The quarantine in-charges have denied LGBTIQ to stay in the quarantines insisting that there is no room for “others” categories but only for male and female. People are being shamed and turned away from government mandated quarantine centers and thus forced illegally into unsafe situations by those charged with providing care.
Mental Health and Suicide Spike during COVID-19 Lockdown
Along with the deterioration in physical health, the mental health of LGBTIQ has also been severely affected during this period. Many disadvantaged Nepalis including LGBTI individuals have committed suicide since the beginning of the pandemic following various problems. News sources quoting police data say the death by suicide number is as high as 2,218 during the lockdown, with the National Suicide Rate being 20 per day – this is a 25% jump from the previous number of 15 per day. At Mitini Nepal, some members personally know some of the suicide victims and we grieve for them. Disaggregated data by SOGIE-SEC demographics is currently not available.
The suicide cases among LGBTIQ community have spiked upward because of declining personal financial situations and individuals have been tempted to end their lives seeing no way to sustain themselves and seeing no support from outside forces. Lack of intervention from the government has escalated this problem. Mitini Nepal has been helping as much as possible, although mobility for Non-Government Organizations is an issue.