Why the LGBTQ Community Is Better Suited to Handle COVID-19

The coverage of COVID-19 this week was truly a whirlwind. It seemed like every hour there was another major, dooming update. It’s disheartening to see college students forced off of campus, hourly workers suddenly cut off from income, and the racist backlash against Asian people and Asian-owned businesses among other things.

All of the negative news was compounded by the fact that the LGBTQ community is at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 for many reasons. At the same time, I think our community is actually one of the ones that is best suited to deal with a crisis like this, as strange as that may sound. Obviously, the AIDS crisis was one that unfortunately taught us how to take care of each other when so many parts of the healthcare system refused care. But to me it’s more than just that experience; queer people are constantly taking care of each other.

At our best, we are each other’s chosen family. I’ve seen this manifest in so many ways. Obviously there are more organized large initiatives like AIDS 5k races. But it also extends to the simple act of a someone picking up dinner when they know another friend is too anxious for a night out. I can think of friends taking people in when they’re kicked out of their childhood home for being gay, or others advocating for someone they care about when that person can’t get affirming healthcare.

It’s only a week or so into the major uptick of news coverage and quarantine from COVID-19. But I’ve already seen Instagram posts with hundreds of comments with the Venmo accounts of queer/trans folks who need extra help. Locally, there are groups collaborating to consolidate resources, and the tone is kind and respectful. It’s another reminder of the beauty of the queer community. We got this.

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