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Not only has COVID starkly revealed gender to be a major driver of health- who gets sick and who lives or dies- it has also exposed existing social fractures and inequalities and exasperated pervasive and restrictive notions of gender. Our work reveals a systematic failure to address gender in the global pandemic response.
Governments that fail to record sex-disaggregated data; whole communities of trans and gender-diverse people occluded from reporting; a global health system unwilling to factor gender into their response; these gaps and imbalances create major blind spots in our understanding of COVID and inhibit our ability to achieve better health and equal opportunities for all people of all genders, everywhere.
There can be no equality until everyone is seen. To counter pervasive gender blindness and to accompany our report Gender Equality: Flying Blind in Times of CrisisThis is Gender drew together a panel of international experts to select 30 images from across the world that explore gender in pandemic in all its diversity. From trans sex workers struggling to get by in Brazil, child-rearing in a Rohingya refugee camp, a sari fashioned into makeshift PPE in a rural Indian clinic to reflections on intergenerational trauma and masculinity in Australia, each image offers an aperture through which to witness the diffusion of gender norms through our lives.
They cast light on how our gender shapes the systems in which we live, the opportunities, choices and rights we have, and the way we understand our own minds and bodies. Taken together, the photographs offer a greater field of depth that renders visible what it means to be a gendered body in a time of pandemic. Vibrant, dynamic, and defiant, they disrupt the gender blindness of the COVID response and demand to be seen. The bureaucracy that involves documents and consultations with endocrinologists, besides the limited of vacancies for feminization treatments in public health units, are some of the reasons that lead transgender women to the use of hormones and industrial silicone injection without medical follow-up.
Now, due to the pandemic, access to healthcare has worsened. Lourena left home for the first time at 19 after family conflicts related to gender identity. Prior to the pandemic, they both worked in bars and at events, but lost their jobs when COVID lockdown measures were introduced.
Both Celina and Lourena now support themselves with sex work. A young girl from Turkey prepares for her race at an international swimming championship, Minsk, Belarus. Gripping the belt with her teeth, she firmly holds herself in place. Her face turns upwards, her eyes evidence her resolve. She is ready to race. Hours later she shaves her hair completely. Aris discovered that she is intersex as an adult, and has since used her career as a documentary filmmaker to tell her story.
And I want to tell it by myself, with my own voice. Liam gazes towards the camera, his fur coat slipping off his shoulder to reveal a torso patterned with scars. He used to self harm Live sexing La Rochelle women and men using drugs. Liam was never hugged by his dad, but he inherited his trauma. His body had s of torture and choking. No one has been arrested in connection with his murder. Since the start of the pandemic, she has been taking care of her elderly parents, helping her high school student with her digital learning, and desperately calling around to ask for deferment on the bills coming in.
Afraid she will lose her home she recently returned to work. She struggles to balance each of her working roles. A man and woman travel by train in Bangladesh. Contained within the blackness of their box-like window frame, they travel differently. The man faces forward unaware of the unfolding landscape, perhaps content with the forward progression and speed of the journey.
The woman leans her arm on the frame and peers out of the window. Above her a bird takes flight. He is part of a crowd of Live sexing La Rochelle women and men gathered in Lagos to protest police brutality and demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police with a long record of abuses. A healthcare worker gives an tetanus injection to a pregnant woman at her clinic on the remote island of Sunderban, India. Reaching across the hospital bed to maintain social distancing measures, her face is concealed by the swathes of silken yellow fabric fashioned into a face mask.
The makeshift PPE is a visual reminder of the struggles healthcare workers face in rural settings. Here, boats are the only form of transportation and supply deliveries are irregular. As one of only three nurses on the island charged with serving the diverse health needs of the 20, strong population, innovation is essential.
Behind the pink petals that cover his eyes and the lumescent green wig is Ryan, a 24 year-old Ugandan refugee living in Kenya. Ryan was forced to flee his homeland in fear of violence and imprisonment due to his sexuality. Prior to the photograph, he vividly recalled a friend that was violently beaten and left for dead after members of his community leaned about his sexual orientation.
If anyone learned about me, I would be dead. So I have to hide my identity for my safety and protection. When you look at me this way, you will love me because I look like a flower.
I can only be beautiful in my own way. He seems vulnerable under the close inspection of the camera, he bites his lip. Socio-economic pressures arise especially in less privileged and poverty stricken communities and are exacerbated by poor national economic conditions such as high unemployment rates and inflation.
Men and boys are particularly vulnerable to the system, often expected to support their families financially from a young age. And yet, it remains taboo to discuss mental health, particularly in more rural and traditional communities.
Boys such as this one captured here are expected to grit their teeth and bear it. The flag is upside down. The girls message is clear, police brutality and systemic racism puts hers and others live in extreme danger. Two houseless transgender teenagers hold each other in a field. ly the two had slept at a shelter, but were kicked out for attending the protests for fear of COVID infection. Their soft gaze and intimate pose tells a story about the tenderness of teenage years.
Live sexing La Rochelle women and men Queen Salma poses on the bed in a room in Cuba. Although Drag Queens, together with much of the LGBT community in Cuba, have not been well-tolerated in Cuba historically, recent years has seen a shift, with many drag queens performing to sold-out crowds. Bolatito emerges through the morning mist at Obake village on the mountain of Erin in Osun state, Nigeria.
She is clad in a heavy shawl and concealed behind a brightly coloured mask. Bolatito is a passionate social responsibility officer who has volunteered with NGOs across Nigeria and Europe. However, in this time of pandemic her underlying health issues — which include Endometriosis, peptic ulcer disease, chronic migraines, hand seizures and depleted immunity — render her vulnerable.
A transgender dancer le the performance at the Beksa Wiraga Satria dance studio in Yogyakarta. Dressed in bright colours and adorned with symbolic accessories and a transparent polycarbonate face shield, the dancers move synchronously to the music as onlookers watch. Performances such as these play a key role in both preserving local and traditional practices and encouraging progressive change. Here, by centreing a transgender dancer, the performance celebrates the diversity of gender. Although at first glance the image may seem familiar and comforting, it belies the long-term trauma and consequences of the epidemic of violence against women in Mexico.
Femicide does not end with murder, it has psychosocial impacts that cause trauma in mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts who become Substitute Mothers.
A woman smokes a cigarette next to her child in a small mud hut kitchen in the village of Taluka, Uttarakhand, India. Both mother and child appear pensive, lost in thought. Since her husband left years ago, they have struggled to get by. To earn money, the woman cooks for the handful of tourists who pass by, for them she smiles brightly treating each transient punter like a family member. This picture was taken after the food was served in a moment of reflection.
Queen Nicki Rangoon, 24 years-old, poses for a portrait in her bedroom in Yangon, Myanmar. Lounged on a green sofa, her eyes meet the viewers. In Myanmar, the continued enforcement of Sectionan outdated British colonial discriminatory law that renders homosexuality punishable by jail, and social conservatism deeply impact the lives of the queer community. In the past, this widespread discrimination and prejudice made Nicki afraid to walk the streets and from living as her authentic self. But as things have slowly changed, Nicki proudly fights for her right to equal job opportunities and to be legally recognised.
The joyful moment of intergenerational care and familial love contrasts starkly with the reality of their situation.
Enduring a perilous journey, both now live in a spontaneous settlement where lack of adequate shelter, water, sanitation and access to basic service leaves them both vulnerable. Photographer Tamara Merino takes a self-portrait with her son Ikal on their first day of quarantine during sunrise. Nadia and her two sons clean the entrails of a slaughtered cow during a festival in Egypt.
The work is arduous and tiring. While men take over the work of slaughtering the animal, the women typically help with cleaning the entrails of the animal which is used to make special Egyptian meals. A young man stares directly into the camera in front of a blurry blue backdrop, his red lipstick slightly smeared.
Elsewhere a young man lies on yellow grass. Playing on the writings of Yukio Mishima- the portraits dance between masculinity and femininity, coolness and warmth. Like many living in lockdown, unable to venture to local salons or barbers for a trim, the couple must navigate the new roles and responsibilities the pandemic has forced upon them.
Two women grind green lentils on a hand mill in a village in Turkey.Live sexing La Rochelle women and men
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