LGBT+ charity ‘The Albert Kennedy Trust' (AKT) has advised people to “hit pause” on coming out during pandemic. 

The charity, specifically working with LGBT+ homeless people, has warned them to “think hard” before coming out if in self-isolation with their family.

This guidance was preceded by  LGBT+ helplines seeing a huge spike in calls from young individuals who have been forced to isolate at home with homophobic family or abusive partners.

The number of calls received by the foundation since the beginning of this year is already double the number received within in the same period last year and the situation continues to worsen.

A staff member, Kayla Le Roux, has revealed that they have “had people ringing up because they’re concerned about the effect COVID-19 would have on existing health issues, people calling about being trapped with families or partners who are hostile to them, or just like everyone else, scared about what the future holds.”

Speaking to Sky News, AKT’s CEO said “if you’re a young person and you’re thinking of coming out, press pause on that until you get support.” 

Tim Sigsworth, the CEO, highlighted that the pandemic is a particularly adverse time for many and warned that if families react poorly to their child coming out, they could end up homeless. This is a very serious concern as LGBT+ youth already constitute a quarter of the UK’s population who sleep rough. This is due to family rejection.

“You can’t predict at these completely unprecedented times how your parents will react. They, like you, are under a lot of stress and they may not react in a positive way,” he said.

Last year, AKT published that 25 percent of adults in the UK would experience shame about having an LGBT+ child, with a tenth of all adults stating that they would be uncomfortable if their child brought home a partner of the same sex.

Councils throughout the country have been asked by the government to provide accommodation to all homeless people during lockdown. However, any individuals displaying even mild COVID-19 symptoms can be asked to leave, giving them no other choice but to sleep rough. This make them significantly more vulnerable to catching the virus.

“We had a young person very early on in the crisis who was staying in a hostel, but then started to show symptoms and the hostel asked them to leave…They had nowhere to stay and no family; their family had rejected them. They had no work, no options other than the street,” Sigsworth said.