Maximum, the Murmansk Regional Initiative Group for LGBT Community Support, started helping the local LGBTIQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) and their family members who found themselves in hardship due to the quarantine. Activists deliver cooked lunches and dinners to about 30 addresses in Murmansk, Kola, and the closed city of Severomorsk every day. Learn more in 7x7’s photo report.
Sergey Alekseenko, the participant of Maximum, delivers food across Murmansk with an assistan, but goes to the closed city of Severomorsk on his own, because only he has got a pass.
They currently cater to about 30 people daily, the number of applications increases with each day, but they will not be able to cater to more than 50 people a day. A cafe, which has stood afloat owing to this project, prepares the food. The company even had to hire two additional cooks.
The Project of Humanitarian Assistance to the LGBTIQ Community During the Pandemic is funded by the European Humanitarian Fund. It is for young people primarily. According to Sergey Alekseenko, organizations of service and entertainment industry, where mainly young people work, are temporarily closed. As a rule, young people do not have any savings to survive self-isolation yet, most often they live in rented apartments.
— The project itself was created unexpectedly when shopping centers, enterprises, cafes and so on began to close left and right at the end of March. As an entrepreneur, I definitely lost money as well. And the regional and federal governments promised a lot but actually went back on their promises. For example, the bank turned down my own credit card holiday application. My friend who lost his job was given 2100 rubles, although Andrey Chibis, the Governor of Murmansk Oblast, promised unemployment benefits of 27800 rubles, - Sergey Alekseenko told 7x7.
Anastasia and Tatyana used to work in the SemYA (‘Family’) Trading Network, before the new year the shops were closed across the Northwest Russia. Nastya has known about the Maximum Regional Initiative Group for a long time — she came across an advertisment of activists, having the opportunity to help the LGBTIQ community and their family members, in a social network.
— I asked for help and got it right away. Food has been delivered to us for six days already. This support helps Tanya and me a lot, because we would be starving without Maximum. There are minimal part-time jobs, for example, you can work in a stall near the house, they pay 700 rubles for a shift, but it's enough to survive one day, — says Anastasiya. — Before that, I worked in retail for five years in various positions — from salesman to deputy director. The trouble came all of a sudden: SemYA declared bankruptcy, left people without salaries, sick pays and any other payments. They fired us with cause, without explanations, and did not give our work record books back, and it is very difficult to get a job anywhere else without one. You undertake an internship — and then they say they are ready to hire you, but only when they get your work record book. This is the situation that Tatiana and I found ourselves in.
The Project of Humanitarian Assistance to the LGBTIQ Community During the Pandemic is intended to last two months.
The Maximum Center for Social and Psychological Assistance and Legal Support for Victims of Discrimination and Homophobia was recognized as a foreign agent in 2015. The activists changed their charter and continued to help those in need.
Alexander Borisov, «7х7»