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Defying Trolls: Unveiling the GRRIPP Reference Guide on Sexual and Gender Minorities

A collective statement on the reference guide launch event, the attempt to derail it, and the guide's defiant and undeterred success from the guide's creators.

Last Friday (13 October 2023), we launched the GRRIPP reference guide on sexual and gender minorities. It was no coincidence that this launch occurred on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, a day which this year had a theme of "fighting inequality for a resilient future." We chose this moment for a reason—to spotlight an often-overlooked aspect of disaster risk reduction: the inclusion and empowerment of sexual and gender minorities.

We were grateful to have been joined by over 70 people in person and just over 20 online to mark the launch of our new reference guide. The session began with a quick introduction led by Prof Maureen Fordham on the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster, GRRIPP and the Reference Guide series. Kevin Blanchard then gave us a brief introduction into the topic of gender and sexual minorities in DRR which was followed by Eshka Chuck and Jessica Roberts who walked us through the methodology of developing the guide. We concluded the session by outlining our findings and our calls to action, led by Kevin Blanchard and Olivia Walmsley. An engaging Q&A followed which allowed for interesting discussions and eagerness to engage with this very important topic.

103 resources found from around the world

83 resources summarised

resources from 19 countries

However, as we embarked on this vital discussion, our online event faced an unexpected challenge. We were interrupted by trolls, individuals determined to derail the discussion around this profoundly significant topic. Using hateful iconography and distraction tactics, the session online couldn’t continue and unfortunately we had to close it. But let us be unequivocally clear: their actions did not hinder our mission or the overall success of the launch.

We will not be silenced, and we will not be deterred

In fact, this interruption only fuelled our determination. It reminded us of the urgency of our cause and the need to confront and eliminate the systemic inequalities faced by sexual and gender minorities in disaster risk reduction. We will not be silenced, and we will not be deterred.

This work was about highlighting the needs of the gender and sexual minorities communities. It was not about erasing or minimising the needs of other marginalised communities (including cis-gender populations). The disaster risk reduction sector is big enough to engage meaningfully with all marginalised groups. Indeed, it’s a necessary step to ensuring a truly inclusive process.

The GRRIPP reference guide stands as a testament to what we see as an urgent need to create a more inclusive and resilient world. It is a comprehensive resource that brings to light the unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities during disasters, explores the capacities these communities offer and provides information on strategies for addressing these issues.

we will continue to promote a truly inclusive disaster risk reduction that values, includes, and learns from sexual and gender minorities

This work is not just about raising awareness; it's about driving change. We refuse to let the voices of hate drown out the cries for justice and equality. We are determined to continue our mission, spreading knowledge, advocating for policy changes, and fostering a global conversation on inclusive disaster risk reduction.

We call upon all those who believe in the importance of equality, inclusivity, and resilience to join us in this fight. Together, we can build a future where no one is left behind, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our mission is unbreakable, our resolve unshakable, and our defiance unwavering.

The trolls may have tried to disrupt our event, but they only succeeded in making us more determined and resolute. We will not back down. We will not give in to hate. With over 200 views of the guide on our site just five days after launch, we will continue to promote a truly inclusive disaster risk reduction that values, includes, and learns from sexual and gender minorities.

Join us in our defiance, and together, we will create a world that truly fights inequality for a resilient future.

If you attended the launch event, we would like to hear your thoughts, experience and feedback. You can contact us on any of our social media pages, or at


Professor Maureen Fordham: (she/her) is the Director of the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster and has been researching disasters since 1988 and is an expert on community-based disaster risk reduction and vulnerability analysis, focusing on the inclusion of a range of marginalised social groups in disaster risk reduction, especially women and girls. She was a founding member of the Gender and Disaster Network in 1997 and is the Coordinator of its website and activities.

Olivia Walmsley: (she/her) is the Global Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for the GRRIPP Project and a Co-Director of the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster. Olivia has led the development of GRRIPPs and the Centre's Reference Guide Series. Olivia holds a BA in Geography and an MSc in Risk, Disaster and Resilience from IRDR, UCL.

Kevin Blanchard: (he/him) MSc FRGS is an experienced policymaker, trainer and advocate focused on helping to ensure the inclusion, visibility and empowerment of marginalised and hyper-marginalised groups in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Kevin works internationally alongside grassroots organisations, educational institutions, national governments, UN organisations and charities to develop inclusive policy, training & practical guidance. Kevin is also the founder of DRR Dynamics.

Jessica Roberts: (they/them) is an early career gender and sexuality researcher. They graduated from the LSE with a distinction in MSc Gender (Research), specialising in queer socio-linguistics. They have presented primary data from their research at two international conferences and have recently been working with UCL Centre for Gender and Disaster on the GRRIPP project. Their other interests include disability advocacy and, in their downtime, Jess loves to do embroidery.

Eshka Chuck: (they/she) is a first-year philosophy MPhil student at UCL, where they have just graduated from their BA. She specialises in moral (anti) aggregation and climate ethics. On the side, they try to get involved with any LGBTQ+-related research they can, most recently: improvements to trans healthcare in the UK (contributing to the Cass Review). Her other interests include campaigning for changes to LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent inclusivity at UCL and, time-permitting, doing the odd bit of digital animation.


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