Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the LGBT community
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the LGBT community. More than 220 pride celebrations around the world have been canceled or postponed, as of April 3, 2020. Global Pride, an online event with numerous national hosts, has been scheduled for June 27, 2020.
LGBT Asians have faced increased discrimination in line with xenophobia and racism related to the pandemic. LGBT seniors are also more likely to encounter isolation and therefore other health issues.
National health organizations have warned that some members of the LGBTQ community may be "particularly vulnerable" to the effects of the disease. Reasons for the increased risk include higher rates of cancer, HIV, and smoking, as well as health care discrimination. There are also concerns about reduced support for LGBTQ people, particularly those who are homeless, and unsafe family environments. In March 2020, more than 100 LGBT rights organizations signed an open letter asking U.S. public health officials to address this issue. Signatories included GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and Lambda Legal. The letter was organized by the LGBT National Cancer Network with support from GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, the New York Transgender Advocacy Group, Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), and Whitman-Walker Health.
In Uganda, 20 LGBT people were detained at a shelter by police and accused of violating social distancing requirements.
GagaOOLala, described by Reuters as "Asia's first LGBT+ video streaming platform, dubbed the continent's 'gay Netflix'", expanded with the hope of reaching people who are isolating because of the pandemic.
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Turkey's top Muslim scholar and Minister of Religious Affairs, Ali Erbaş, said in a Friday Ramadan announcement that country condemns homosexuality because it "brings illness", insinuating that same sex relations are responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan backed Erbaş, saying that what Erbaş "said was totally right."
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Several pride festivals cancelled their regular events, but announced plans to proceed with online "digital pride" festivals. These include Vancouver Pride, Calgary Pride, Sudbury Pride, and Capital Pride in Ottawa.
Glad Day Bookshop announced various plans to support LGBTQ artists and performers during the pandemic and the associated shutdown of most venues that they depend on for income, including a crowdfunded Emergency Survival Fund to provide loans and grants, and GD TV, a Zoom-based online channel for LGBTQ artists, writers, musicians, dancers and drag queens to livestream readings and performances. The Toronto Queer Film Festival launched the Queer Emergencies Fund to offer grants to LGBTQ filmmakers for the creation of new short works, and the Inside Out Film and Video Festival announced a program offering production grants of up to $2,500 to projects impacted by pandemic-related shutdowns.
The vulnerability of many LGBTQ businesses was spotlighted in early May when Pegasus, a popular bar in Toronto's Church and Wellesley village, announced that it was at risk of closing because its landlord was refusing to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. The federal government program had been designed to help protect small businesses from closure by subsidizing their rent during the shutdown, but still leaves businesses vulnerable because it requires buy-in from the landlord as well. The 519 community centre followed up with an open letter suggesting that the entire Church and Wellesley village was in danger of disappearing if governments did not take steps to improve their protection of small businesses. Residents of the neighbourhood have also noted a significant increase in crime and violence, related in part to an impromptu encampment of homeless people setting up tents in Barbara Hall Park.
In Florida, several attendees of Miami's annual Winter Party Festival tested positive for coronavirus, according to event organizer National LGBTQ Task Force. Shannon Bennett, a gay man and deputy sheriff with Broward Sheriff's Office, is "believed to be the first such line-of-duty death from COVID-19 in Florida".
The San Francisco Department of Public Health published a news release called "Trans Care During COVID-19", which noted the higher proportion of transgender people with HIV/AIDS. New York's Callen-Lorde Community Health Center has considered extending HIV medication prescriptions and reducing in-person visits to practice social distancing.
The following LGBT events have been cancelled or postponed:
- Albuquerque Pride
- Boston Pride
- Capital Pride, Washington, D.C.
- Columbus Pride
- D.C. Black Pride
- Folsom Street Fair (San Francisco)
- Houston Pride Parade
- Howard County Pride
- Long Beach Pride
- Los Angeles Pride
- Miami Beach Pride
- NYC Pride March
- Phoenix Pride
- Portland Pride Festival (Oregon)
- Pride in the Park, Chicago
- Pride of the Americas, Fort Lauderdale
- San Francisco Pride
- Sonoma County Pride
- Tulsa Pride Parade
- Utah Pride Festival
- Wenatchee Pride Festival
Stonewall Gives BackEdit
"Stonewall Gives Back! A Live-Streaming Concert for the LGBTQ+ Nightlife Community", or simply "Stonewall Gives Back", was a fundraiser held on April 23, 2020. The event was organized by World of Wonder and the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative, a charity affiliated with the Stonewall Inn, and hosted on the WOWPresents YouTube channel. It was announced on April 20 and benefited "LGBTQ nightlife industry professionals" applying for emergency assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beneficiaries were granted to "US residents who have worked for at least 12 months in LGBT+ nightlife and for whom it is a main source of income". Hosted by Michelle Visage and Tyler Oakley, the event featured performances and appearances by Allie X, Shoshana Bean, Betty Who, Greyson Chance, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Todrick Hall, Carlie Hanson, Darren Hayes, Cyndi Lauper, Leland, Lorna Luft, John Cameron Mitchell, MUNA, Our Lady J, Nina West, Peppermint, Kim Petras, Matt Rogers, Troye Sivan, Pabllo Vittar, and Rufus Wainwright. Erich Bergen served as executive producer.
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