VIDEO: The Stress of the Pandemic is Gendered. Our Response Has to Be, Too

By Charlie Amáyá Scott

Since the beginning of this year, many communities, nations, countries, etc. have initiated lockdowns, movement restrictions, quarantine laws, policies and so forth in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. A lot of these precautions have actually exposed the systematic violence that exists throughout the world.

Some of the violence I have been thinking about has been the underlying (trans)misogyny, in which women and gender non-conforming (used here as a broad inclusive umbrella term for those who are non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, trans, etc), have been forced to take on household labor and other additional labor because they are considered “feminine” jobs. A news article recently highlighted how women are being forced out of the workforce, many of them being furloughed or laid off at higher rates than men.

Another issue to consider is how LGBTQ2S+ students have been forced to be in unsupportive home environments, experiencing forms of violence that colleges and universities may have provided a safe haven from. And let us not forget that many women and GNC folks might be forced to be in closed spaces with their abusers, experiencing various forms of domestic, intimate-partner, or sexual violence at levels much higher than pre-COVID-19. 

This is just to say that this pandemic has heightened forms of violence that have existed before, and have especially increased for many, especially women and GNC individuals. Unfortunately, many of us cannot escape these violent realities without either subjecting ourselves to state-sanctioned violence or a deadly respiratory virus, and so we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Charlie A. Scott (Diné) is a non-binary Indigenous femme who is a doctoral student at the University of Denver studying higher education.

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