Queer Wage Workers and Financial Crisis

According the the UNDP rapid assessment conducted early on in the lockdown, 3 in 5 Nepali people lost jobs due to the lockdown. This does not count the informal economy, in which it can be predicted that nearly 100% of daily wage, unsalaried or unofficially employed people lost jobs.

During this unfavorable situation of COVID-19, many people who belong to the LGBTIQ community have been unemployed for almost half the calendar year because of the long lockdown. They cannot seek help from their families as they aren’t accepted for their identity and orientation. The community members have been going through financial scarcities as they have now lost all sources of income. They are unable to afford food, rent and other essentials. It is a known fact that LGBTIQ have not had equal access in education and as a result, many have low academic credentials. As a result of intersecting disadvantages, queer people in Nepal land disproportionally low in the job market compared with CIS and straight people.

Many LGBTIQ have been involved in varying minimal wage jobs such as daily-wage physical labor, sex work, exotic dancers and so on. As the LGBTIQ rely on their daily wages to satiate their hunger, they have been severely affected by the lockdown imposed by the government because once the cities were sealed, and civilian activities severely restricted, LGBTIQ people lost their only source of incomes. As they are employed at low paying jobs, the community members also don’t have savings which could help in a time of crisis and urgency such as right now.