Because of social distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of young people visiting our center has decreased. Youth support centers across the country have been hurting from reduced funding and programming due to the pandemic, and youth living outside of Seoul are having an especially difficult time accessing services and receiving support. As a result, LGBTQIA+ youth outside of Seoul especially are suffering from feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Due to shelter-in-place requirements beginning in February, schools continue to all be conducted via internet and video chat. Because of this, it is even more difficult for LGBTQIA+ youth to stay safe and avoid conflict with family members. In addition, LGBTQIA+ youth struggle as their privacy is violated by their parents (surveillance of social media and internet activity, restrictions on going out, etc).
This is in addition to the discrimination that many LGBTQIA+ youth continue to face because of their gender and sexual identity. DDing Dong recorded cases of discrmination against LGBTQIA+ youth at schools, youth shelters, group homes, medical institutions, and government offices (neighborhood and community centers, office for reporting for mandatory military service).The forms of discrimination recorded were hate speech, refusal to provide services, and indirect discrimination.
#Rainbow Kits to support LGBTQIA+ teenagers living independently From March to July 2020,
we delivered Rainbow Kits to 30 LGBTQIA+ youth
Since 2017, DDing Dong has been steadily making and delivering Rainbow Kits to LGBTQIA+ teenagers. Rainbow Kits contain food and living necessities to support LGBTQIA+ teenagers who are living independently from their families. In addition to providing a Rainbow Kit, DDing Dong checks in with the youth monthly to see how they are doing, if they are healthy, and what kind of support they may need.
#COVID-19 Emergency Living Expenses Support
Thanks to the generosity of DDing Dong and our supporters, emergency living support was provided to seven LGBTQIA+ youth between May and July.
In the first half of 2020, many unexpected things happened. With the spread of COVID-19, young people were forced to take unpaid leave without no guarantee they would be able to return to the job. Because of this, many had to reduce their food expenses and look for any possible part-time work to pay rent.
As the effects of COVID-19 continue to be ongoing, we will continue to do our best to support LGBTQIA+ youth in the second half of 2020, and do all that we can to create a better life, society, and environment for all.
From May through June, we conducted our “Rainbow Wing” project twice with the “Saram Maeum Trauma Healing Center”. The goal of the progam is to help address issues that contribute to suicide and self-harm among LGBTQIA+ youth. Participants explored how to identify emotions, as well as how emotions and actions are connected, and how to observe and describe their feelings.
#Daegu, Gyeongbuk 10th Sexual Minority Support Project 'Todak Todak Memo’
In June and July, we visited LGBTQIA+ youth in Daegu and Gyeongbuk to show our support for them during the spread of COVID-19.
Through the KakaoTalk chatting platform, 33 LGBTQIA+ youth shared their current status and feelings with us. DDing Dong volunteers responded to each of the youth with encouragement, and also sent meal and snack coupons to them.