Read in Arabic here.
Pride Month in 2020 is not like previous years. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and a global reckoning on racial justice, and those of us in communities already at risk are disproportionately impacted. Our struggles have never intersected more. In recent years, we have seen sweeping progress for LGBTQ communities across parts of the globe, and stagnation and regression in others — places where it is hard and even illegal to be our true selves.
At Access Now, we are members of and advocates for the LGBTQ community, and we believe we must lift each other up. We understand that members of the LGBTQ community face innumerable struggles because we are part of those communities and are connected in many ways. We know LGBTQ people are more likely to be attacked using online harassment and violence, victimized through online censorship, intimidated by outing and doxxing, and targeted by law enforcement.
These risks are compounded for those of us who face marginalization through multiple aspects of our identities, whether that be our race, ethnicity, religion, or otherwise. And the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the areas of our lives where we experience conflict and are exposed to risk — including for youth on lockdown with families who do not support them, for Black and Brown people who are more likely to die of COVID-19 than other races and ethnicities, and for trans folks among us who continue to face heightened discrimination and violence. It has made clear what we already know: the internet is an essential tool for connecting with community and living our fullest lives, and we must ensure that everyone can access those resources affordably, reliably, and safely.
At Access Now, we provide technical support to civil society organizations and activists through our Digital Security Helpline, share stories and solutions, publicize informative data on digital issues specific to at-risk communities, and directly support LGBTQ projects and organizations through our grants program. No matter what the challenges, we are steadfast in our commitment to the cause.
Like other social justice movements, the LGBTQ community has gotten to where we are by taking to the streets — including at the 1969 Stonewall Riots, where Black trans folk in Greenwich Village famously stood up to police harassment, and the tradition of Pride was born. Now, despite the pandemic, countless protesters around the world are urgently mobilizing for racial justice, and Access Now stands in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. If you plan on participating in a demonstration or protest, your physical and digital safety should be a priority. Please abide by your local physical distancing regulations. Here are resources that you may find useful for strengthening your security and staying safe:
- Digital First Aid Kit via RaReNet (Rapid Response Network) and CiviCERT (of which Access Now is a member)
- Surveillance Self Defense Guide: Attending a Protest via EFF
- How to Protest Safely in the Age of Surveillance via WIRED
- Access Now’s Preventing Doxxing Guide via Access Now
- CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering U.S. protests over police violence via CPJ
- Protect your protest via Right to Protest
- Defend Our Movements: Digital self-defense knowledge base via MediaJustice
- Guide to Digital Resilience during Actions via Equality Labs
Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline is available 24/7 via [email protected] to provide real-time digital security support to civil society organizations, activists, journalists, and other human rights defenders.
We wish everyone a safe Pride Month, and offer our support to all those who may need it.