Walking the talk: supporting young LGBTIQ+ people in our COVID-19 response | Plan International Skip to main content
Walking the talk - supporting young LGBTIQ+ people in COVID-19 response

Walking the talk: supporting young LGBTIQ+ people in our COVID-19 response


The COVID-19 crisis is posing increasing risks to already vulnerable young LGBTIQ+ people. This briefing paper is for all Plan International staff, to help protect and empower these young people by including them in our response to crises and programme adaptations across the world.

Across the globe, there are increasing reports of LGBTIQ+ people experiencing COVID-19 related homelessness, food insecurity, health and mental health issues, and violence. COVID-19 relief may not reach LGBTIQ+ communities; for example people who do not have identification cards, who avoid those services due to fear of violence and discrimination, or whose lived experiences and needs are not understood or addressed by relief providers.

With many young LGBTIQ+  people forced to isolate in unsafe residences, often with their own families who may not accept their identities, young LGBTIQ+ people are at increased risk of SGBV, other forms of violence and abuse, underlying health conditions and limited access to services, as well as economic vulnerability. In addition, young LGBTIQ+ people and their relatives are often not in a position to seek assistance due to the lack of mobility and social capital, and with little or no access to many social and legal protections. Because of lockdowns and increased social isolation, many informal safety nets are also out of bounds, exacerbating risks for young LGBTIQ+ people.

Executive Summary

What is this resource?

This briefing paper focuses on the challenges faced by young people who are LGBTIQ+. It offers guidance on how Plan International can address these challenges within the pillars of the COVID-19 response, and our commitment to all children, adolescents and young people under the gender transformative programming and influencing.  The Adaptation and Response Framework includes pillars on WASH, Health (incl. SRHR), Protection, Education, as well as Community Engagement and Influencing, including young people’s participation.  As we stand with our communities beyond COVID-19, now is the time to leave no-one behind! This paper support teams to:

  • » Understand the unique needs, vulnerabilities and capabilities of LGBTIQ+ youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • » Ensure the inclusion of young LGBTIQ+ people in COVID-19 response interventions and adaptation of programmes, in line with Plan’s commitments to gender equality and challenging the exclusion of vulnerable children in society