The LGBTQ+ community is no stranger to outbreaks of disease. The community was one of the largest groups affected by the AIDS crisis. The crisis was made worse because of the gap in terms of health, economic, and social privilege.
This kind of disparity is why the queer community might need extra support during this pandemic. The gap between the LGBTQ population and everyone else can play out in a few ways, such as health vulnerability, economic vulnerability, social vulnerability, and mental vulnerability. Read on for complete details on how these can impact queer folk.
The AIDS crisis has left older members of the community with suppressed immune systems, as well as other problems. While being HIV positive is no longer a death sentence like it used to be; it does mean that HIV positive people are at risk for developing a severe COVID infection. Therefore, HIV+ people need to take extra precautions during this time.
LGBTQ+ people also have asthma more than the general population, at 21% compared to the general number of 14 percent. Queer folk also have higher rates of cancer, which is another risk factor.
LGBTQ+ people are socially vulnerable due to the way that medical professionals treat them. They are discriminated against by doctors and nurses due to their identity. In a crisis, discrimination might be even more prevalent.
Medical professionals are also extremely undereducated about the unique medical problems that LGBTQ+ people might face, which makes the healthcare they get inefficient.
The LGBTQ+ community is also disproportionately affected by mental illnesses, often due to trauma. This means that they might not seek treatment when they should. The unprofessional behavior of healthcare workers can also make their mental health conditions worse, which is why members of the community may not seek medical help when they should.
The LGBTQ+ community also suffers from dire financial circumstances due to their identity. One in five queer people is below the poverty line. Moreover, 40% of young homeless people belong to the community.
What makes this more significant a problem is that 17% of LGBTQ+ people don’t have health coverage, and if they do, it is tied to their employment status. With companies laying their workers off during the crisis, the number is likely to increase.
In times like these, the LGBTQ+ community needs to band together, including businesses. There are LGBTQ+ companies like Gaybnb that are giving back to the community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Gaybnb is a home-share platform that lists gay-friendly bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals in holiday destinations. They’ve offered their queer clientele 100% refunds on deposits for travel bookings up to June 2020. The returns do not come at the cost of their hosts either, as they charge $0 in host fees. Go to their website for more information!