October 25, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Coronavirus’ Added Risk for LGBTQ+ Communities

More than 100 LGBTQ+ organizations have signed an open letter outlining the added risk the novel coronavirus poses on the LGBTQ+ community.

Read letter below:

As the spread of the novel coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19 increases, many LGBTQ+ people are understandably concerned about how this virus may affect us and our communities. The undersigned want to remind all parties handling COVID-19 surveillance, response, treatment, and media coverage that LGBTQ+ communities are among those who are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of this virus.

Our increased vulnerability is a direct result of three factors:

  1. The LGBTQ+ population uses tobacco at rates that are 50% higher than the general population. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that has proven particularly harmful to smokers.
  2. The LGBTQ+ population has higher rates of HIV and cancer, which means a greater number of us may have compromised immune systems, leaving us more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.
  3. LGBTQ+ people continue to experience discrimination, unwelcoming attitudes, and lack of understanding from providers and staff in many health care settings, and as a result, many are reluctant to seek medical care except in situations that feel urgent – and perhaps not even then.

In addition, there are more than 3 million LGBTQ+ older people living in the United States. LGBTQ+ elders are already less likely than their heterosexual and cisgender peers to reach out to health and aging providers, like senior centers, meal programs, and other programs designed to ensure their health and wellness, because they fear discrimination and harassment. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on older people – the current mortality rate is at 15% for this population – makes this a huge issue for the LGBTQ+ communities as well.

LGBTQ+ communities are very familiar with the phenomena of stigma and epidemics. We want to urge people involved with the COVID-19 response to ensure that LGBTQ+ communities are adequately served during this outbreak. Depending on your role, appropriately serving our communities could involve any of the following actions:

  • Ensuring that media coverage notes the particular vulnerabilities of any person with pre-existing respiratory illnesses, compromised immune systems or who uses tobacco products. While populations – like LGBTQ+ communities – can be at increased risk, it is important to note the overall state of health that contributes to any person’s increased vulnerability to contracting COVID-19.
  • Ensuring health messaging includes information tailored to communities at increased risk for COVID-19, including LGBTQ+ populations. An example of such tailored messaging is including imagery of LGBTQ+ persons in any graphic ads.
  • Providing LGBTQ+ individuals resources to find welcoming providers, such as the ones provided here, if they are experiencing symptoms like a cough or fever and need to seek medical attention.
  • Ensuring funding to community health centers is distributed in a fashion that accounts for the additional burden anticipated by LGBTQ-identified health centers.
  • Whenever possible ensuring health agencies partner with community-based organizations to get messaging out through channels we trust.
  • Ensuring surveillance efforts capture sexual orientation and gender identity as part of routine demographics.
  • Ensuring health workers are directed to provide equal care to all regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity/presentation, ability, age, national origin, immigration status, race, or ethnicity.
  • Ensuring that all COVID-19 responses take into account exceptionally vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ communities, including our elders, bi people, and black and brown trans and gender nonconforming/nonbinary people.
  • Since xenophobic responses are heavily impacting the Asian American communities, ensuring all communications and responses related to COVID-19 attempt to counter any such xenophobic responses, avoid racial profiling, and discourage the public from doing so as well.
  • Ensuring LGBTQ+ health leadership, along with all providers and health care centers, are provided with timely and accurate information to disseminate.

As LGBTQ+ community and health leadership, the undersigned organizations offer to stand shoulder to shoulder with the mainstream health leadership to make sure we learn from history and do not allow any population to be disproportionately impacted or further stigmatized by a virus. 

Initial signers:

  • Advocates for Youth
  • Advocating Opportunity
  • Alder Health Services
  • Antioch University MFA Program
  • Athlete Ally
  • Atlanta Pride Committee
  • BiNet USA
  • Black Lives Matter Houston
  • Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
  • California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network
  • Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
  • CARES
  • Center on Halsted
  • CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
  • Compass LGBTQ Community Center
  • Corktown Health Center
  • Counter Narrative Project
  • CreakyJoints & Global Healthy Living Foundation
  • CrescentCare
  • Darker Sister Center
  • Deaf Queer Resource Center
  • Desert AIDS Project
  • Desi Queer Diaspora
  • Equality California
  • Equality Federation
  • Equality North Carolina
  • Erie Gay News
  • Family Equality
  • Fenway Health
  • GALAEI
  • Fenway Health
  • GALAEI
  • Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center
  • Gender Equality New York, Inc. (GENY)
  • Gender Justice League (Washington State)
  • Georgia Equality
  • GLAAD
  • GLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz
  • Greater Erie Alliance for Equality
  • Greater Palm Springs Pride
  • Harvey Milk Foundation
  • Hetrick-Martin Institute
  • HIV AIDS Alliance of Michigan
  • HIV Medicine Association
  • Horizons Foundation
  • Howard Brown Health
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Independence Business Alliance
  • Indiana Youth Group
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • Inside Out Youth Services
  • InterPride
  • Keystone Business Alliance
  • Lambda Legal
  • Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN)
  • Lansing Association for Human Rights
  • Legacy Community Health
  • LGBT Center of Greater Reading
  • LGBT Center of Raleigh
  • LGBT Elder Initiative
  • LGBTQ Center OC
  • MassEquality
  • Matthew Shepard Foundation
  • Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
  • Minority Veterans of America
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Center for Transgender Equality
  • National Coalition for LGBT Health
  • National Equality Action Team
  • National LGBTQ Task Force
  • Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center
  • No Justice No Pride
  • Oasis Legal Services
  • Oklahomans for Equality
  • Our Family Coalition
  • Out Alliance
  • Out And Equal
  • Out Boulder County
  • OutCenter of Southwest Michigan
  • OutFront Kalamazoo
  • OutRight International
  • Pennsylvania Youth Congress
  • Persad Center, Inc.
  • PFund Foundation
  • Pizza Klatch
  • Positive Women’s Network
  • Pride Center of the Capital Region
  • Pride Center Of Vermont
  • Princess Janae Place Inc
  • Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County
  • Rockland County Pride Center
  • San Francisco AIDS Foundation
  • SAVE – Safeguarding American Values for Everyone
  • SERO Project
  • SF LGBT Community Center
  • SisTers PGH
  • St. James Infirmary
  • Still Bisexual
  • The LGBTQ Center Long Beach
  • The LOFT LGBT Community Services Center
  • The Montrose Center
  • The Social Impact Center
  • The Source LGBT+ Center
  • The Trevor Project
  • Thomas Judd Care Center
  • Thundermist Health Center
  • Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)
  • Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Triangle Community Center
  • Trillium Health
  • TriVersity Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity
  • UNIFIED-HIV Health and Beyond
  • U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus
  • Wellness AIDS Services
  • William Way LGBT Community Center
Related Posts

Marathon Runners Heading To WeHo

October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

Runners in the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon presented by Asics will be making their way through the City of West...

Los Angeles LGBT Center Opens New Facility In South Los Angeles

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Los Angeles LGBT Center has opened a new facility in South Los Angeles to serve the health needs of LGBT...

AIDS/LifeCycle Kick Off Ride

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

AIDS/LifeCycle is kicking off it’s 2022 training season to end AIDS on October 16th.  Riders can sign up for the...

WeHo To Support Cleanup and Wildlife Rescue Efforts After Orange County Oil Spill

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

The City of West Hollywood Activates ‘West Hollywood Responds’, a program to encourage donations to support cleanup and wildlife rescue...

WeHo to Recognize October as Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

The City of West Hollywood has announced that it would recognize October as Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Awareness...

OUT On The Mountain At Six Flags Magic Mountian

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Six Flags Magic Mountain celebrated LGBTQ Pride with its annual OUT on the Mountain event on Friday, September 17th.  Out...

Caitlyn Jenner Expresses Outrage After California Recall Vote

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Republican candidate Caitlyn Jenner received only one percent of the California recall vote.  The 2021 California gubernatorial recall election was...

24-Hour Fitness WeHo Location Closing

September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021

24-Hour Fitness in West Hollywood, popular to local residents in the WeHo area, is set to close on November 30th...

Elvira Shocks Fans By Coming Out Of The Closet

September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021

Just in time for Halloween, the spook queen herself, Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, has come out of the closet.  In...

Britney Spears Announces Engagement

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Britney Spears and boyfriend Sam Asghari have announced their engagement.  Asghari’s talent manager Brandon Cohen of BAC Talent confirmed in...

MS-13’s Stronghold On MacArthur Park And Transphobia

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

MS-13, a vicious street gang, continues its stronghold on MacArthur Park making it unsafe for many who visit but specifically...

Jonathan Van Ness Offers His Services As A Life Coach

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness who identifies as non-binary has teamed up with Skillshare to host a virtual class...

California State To Outlaw “Stealthing”

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

California could soon become the first state to outlaw “stealthing”, the vile practice of removing a condom during sex without...

Teacher Removed After Having Class Pledge Allegiance To The Pride Flag

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Kristin Pitzen, a teacher at Back Bay High School in Costa Mesa, who posted a video to social media of...

Sticker Printing – Everything You Need To Know

September 10, 2021

September 10, 2021

As a Los Angeles-based business owner, educator, or entrepreneur, you want to be able to get your brand or message...