LGBTQIA+ & disasters

Queer disaster experiences: marginality, intersectionality, and space

During Covid-19 lockdowns, queer groups created community and identity-affirming spaces online. Read more from this research below.

Project summary:
Consideration for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex, asexual and other diverse gender and sexual identities (LGBTQIA+) people is often absent in disaster and humanitarian strategies, yet they experience unique vulnerabilities linked to inequality and marginalisation. Where LGBTQIA+ people are considered, it is often as one uniform group, but LGBTQIA+ populations are not homogeneous, with diversity of experiences both between and within subgroups.

We are exploring the following questions in various ways/projects (including work during COVID-19):
1. How do varying experiences of marginality within LGBTQIA+ populations influence vulnerability and disaster risk?
2. What coping strategies and coping capacities are present among queer populations for facing disaster, public health and other crises?
3. How can disaster and humanitarian policies/strategies be more inclusive of LGBTQIA+ lives and needs?
4. How can activities such as participatory mapping be used as research tools and vehicles for advocacy in reducing disaster risk among diverse marginalised populations?

Project team:
Dr Billy Tusker Haworth (they/them or he/him) – Principal investigator and project manager, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney
Mr Luan Carpes Barros Cassal (he/him) – Research assistant, University of Manchester
Mr Tiago de Paula Muniz (he/him) – Research assistant, HCRI, University of Manchester
Dr Christine Eriksen (she/her) – Collaborator, Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich
Dr Scott McKinnon (he/him)  – Collaborator, University of Wollongong
Dr Stephanie Rinaldi (she/her) – Altruistic administrative consultant, HCRI, University of Manchester

The “Progress” pride flag. Image: Daniel Quasar

2020/21: Impact Acceleration grant for project titled ‘LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 (UK and Brazil)’, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
2019: Early Career Visiting Fellowship, Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS), University of Wollongong.

Associated  outputs/activities to date:
Animation / research explainer video (2021): LGBT+ and Covid-19: stories from the UK and Brazil, and the need for more inclusive crisis responses. University of Manchester / The Story communications. November 2021.

Haworth, B.T., Cassal, L.C.B. & Muniz, T. de P. (2022). “No-one knows how to care for LGBT community like LGBT do”: LGBTQIA+ experiences of COVID-19 in the UK and Brazil. Disasters.

Haworth, B.T., McKinnon, S. & Eriksen, C. (2022). Advancing disaster geographies: From marginalisation to inclusion of gender and sexual minorities. Geography Compass, e12664. DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12664. 

Haworth, B.T. (2022). The importance of queer community resilience. Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 37(1): 31-32. 

Cassal, L. & Haworth, B.T. (2021). Enfrentando a crise pelas margens: Experiências de pessoas LGBTI + durante a ‘primeira onda’ da pandemia de Covid-19 no Rio de Janeiro e em São Paulo. Revista Brasileira de Estudos da Homocultura, 4(15): 307-335. 

Cassal, L., Haworth, B.T. & Muniz, T. (2021). Aprendendo com experiências de pessoas LGBTI+ durante a Covid-19 em SP e RJ (relatório para política pública). HCRI Policy Brief Series.

Haworth, B.T. (2021). Learning from LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 in the UK for future crises: Considerations for policymakers and practitioners. The Manchester Briefing, issue 31.

Haworth, B.T. (2021). Learning from the UK’s LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 for future crises. HCRI Policy Brief Series, 01/21.

Blog posts / Conversation pieces
Cassal, L. & Haworth, B.T. (2022, January). Engaging Beyond the University: Knowledge Exchange on LGBTIQ+ Experiences of Covid-19 in Brazil and the UK. SALC Making a difference blog.

Cassal, L., & Haworth, B.T. (2021, July). LGBTIQ+ people in Brazil left to support themselves during COVID-19: vulnerabilities, coping strategies, and recommendations for more inclusive crisis policies. Policy@Manchester blog.
Portuguese version:

Haworth, B.T. (2021, March). LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 in the UK and the need for more inclusive crisis policies. Policy@Manchester blog.

Haworth, B.T. (2020). Researching experiences of gender and sexual minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blog post and podcast, October 2020. Posted on and

Haworth, B.T., Eriksen, C. & McKinnon, S. (2019, May). Online tools can help people in disasters, but do they represent anyone? The Conversation.

Haworth, B.T. & Cassal, L. (2021, organisers, chair, and speakers). Public research seminar/panel: ‘Navigating crisis from the margins: LGBTQIA+ vulnerability and resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. Research and stories from the UK and Brazil.’ University of Manchester, 1 December 2021. Speakers: Billy Tusker Haworth (University of Manchester), Luan Cassal (University of Manchester), Mariah Rafaela Silva (Fluminense Federal University and Grupo Conexão G), Jack Lopez (University of Bradford).

Cassal, L. & Haworth, B. (2021, organisers, chair, and speakers). Public research seminar/panel (in Portuguese): ‘Navegando na crise pelas margens: vulnerabilidade e resiliência LGBTQIA + durante a pandemia de Covid-19.’ University of Manchester, 4 November 2021. Speakers: Luan Cassal (University of Manchester), Gilmara Cunha (Grupo Conexão G), Amana Mattos (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro), Thiago Ranniery (UFRJ).

Haworth, B.T. (2022). Invited co-facilitator and panellist for session at the United Nations Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction: Spotlight: Addressing the risk faced by LGBTQI+ people and people w Diverse SOGIESC, Brisbane, September 19-22. Recording available here:

Haworth, B.T. (2021, presented paper). Learning from LGBTQIA+ experiences of COVID-19 for more inclusive disaster risk reduction policy and practice. In virtual forum on disasters and gender and sexual minorities, United Nations European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction, Matosinhos, Portugal and online, November. Recording available here:

Cassal, L. & Haworth, B.T. (2021, presented paper). LGBTIQ+ people in Brazil left to support themselves during COVID-19: vulnerabilities, coping strategies, and recommendations for more inclusive crisis policies. IX Oxbridge Conference on Brazilian Studies (online), Cambridge University and Oxford University, October. Proceedings:

Haworth, B.T. (2021, invited keynote). Inter-Engineering REENG Pride event: LGBTIQ+ Experiences of Gender and Sexual Minorities During Crisis (online), June.

Haworth, B.T. (2021, invited presentation). Learning from LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 in the UK for future crises: Considerations for policymakers and practitioners. Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (VCSEP) network meeting, April.

Haworth, B.T. & de Paula Muniz, T. (2020, presented paper). LGBTIQ+ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic: a comparative study of vulnerabilities and coping strategies in the UK and Brazil. HCRI COVID-19 book event (online), University of Manchester, September.

Haworth, B.T. (2019, presented paper). Queer experiences of disasters, intersectionality and the spatial dimension: a working proposal. ACCESS seminar series, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, April.

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