ABOUT THE PROJECT
This project specifically seeks to engage proactively with the implications of COVID-19 on the everyday experiences of sex workers and LGBTIQ+ persons. It serves as a starting point for a broader collaborative advocacy strategy between the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Mothers for the Future (M4F), the Triangle Project, and the Sexual and Reproductive Coalition (SRJC).
ATLANTIC FELLOWS INVOLVED
A community of care: sex worker and queer peer educators are community carers and advocates for the most marginalised during Covid.
‘WHEN YOU ARE POOR, BLACK, A SEX WORKER, GENDER NON-CONFORMING AND GAY, YOU ARE AN EXPERT OF THAT LIVED EXPERIENCE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO THEN BE VOCAL FOR THEM TO KNOW THAT YOUR STORY IS SUFFICIENT FOR SOMETHING TO BE DONE. OUR STORIES NEED TO BE TOLD AS LONG AS OUR SURVIVIAL AND LIVELIHOOD IS STILL CONDITIONAL”
Dudu Dlamini and Lance Louskieter
As a means to advance advocacy work and highlighting the experiences of queer persons and sex workers in the time of Covid- 19, Tekano fellows Duduzile Dlamini and Lance Louskieter collaborated with the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy TaskForce (SWEAT) , the SRJC and the Triangle Project in coordinating a project documenting the marginalization of the LGBTI+ community and sex workers in the health system’s response to the novel pandemic.
This project connects efforts to mobilise towards the decriminalisation of sex work to advance the rights and health of sex workers, with efforts to ensuring realisation of constitutional and human rights womxn, LGBTIQ+ persons, their partners and families. This project specifically seeks to engage proactively with the implications of COVID on the everyday experiences of sex workers and LGBTIQ+ persons. It serves as a starting point for a broader collaborative advocacy strategy between Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), Mothers for the Future (M4F), the Triangle Project, the Sexual and Reproductive Coalition (SRJC).
The long-term impact goals of this project are as follows:
- Building synergies and collaborations across advocacy priorities across the different organisations involved to strengthen advocacy efforts locally, provincially and nationally
- Information generation and documentation of experiences linked to COVID and the state’s response for broader advocacy for evidence informed policy influence and lobbying
- Responsiveness to challenges that sex workers and LGBTIQ+ persons face during and post COVID linked to the state’s response
- Positioning sex work and LGBTIQ+ priorities alongside ‘mainstream’ health systems and community organizing and advocacy and developing a sustainable strategy to build allyship base for advocacy of these priorities.
The short-term specific objectives of this advocacy project included:
- Mobilize sex worker and queer peer educators to organize and strengthening their advocacy capacity
- Train and equip peer educators with information and resources to facilitate and promote responsiveness to queer persons and sex workers during lockdown and the COVID pandemic
- To create appropriate, acceptable and relevant health promotion information through outreach, media and social media engagement
- Collection of narratives as evidence about the experiences of sex workers and queer persons for future advocacy priorities
To date, a total of 120 stories have been collected, and are in the process of being separated into various forms of content pieces which will be disseminated between September and October culminating into a documentary, webinar, OpEds and engagements involving key stakeholders and actionable advocacy recommendations. A website was also created and is under construction as part of the Mothers for the Future (M4F) banner to showcase the work of the advocacy buddies and peer educators of the project. The following images are samples of the stories: