Is the gay community at bigger risk in COVID-19 crisis?

This is something that caught my eye today. Many credible organizations that serve our community (like over 100) have come out on record to proclaim a resounding, “YES!!!” I had pause about this when I first started reading around about it. Was this fear-mongering? Was it “hate” spawned by a religious group somewhere trying to pass itself off as science? Was this just fake news or a misguided hoax of a discussion.

Come to find out this is a totally legit concern that is being voiced in unison by almost everyone who is anyone in the gay community. In short, the thinking is that for some reasons pretty specific to our culture and shared experiences as gay citizens we might be a greater risk to contract and then suffer through this horrible pandemic. Here is a bullet point list of why this is might be so:

  • Smoking rates in the gay community are usually higher than other subsets of the population. This alone make us extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus but on top of that this virus attacks the lungs and respiratory system in particular. This could present big problems for smokers.
  • The highly contagious disease is also extremely dangerous to those with existing health conditions, and LGBTQ+ people have higher rates of both HIV and cancer; both conditions lead to compromised immune systems.
  • Experts are also concerned at how many LGBTQ+ people are relectuant to seek medical care because of bias and homophobia they have previously encountered from health care providers or heard about from friends and family in similar situations.
  • Organizational leaders also pointed out there are over 3 million (gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or queer) elders in the U.S. This segment of the population are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 en mass because the mortality rate is the highest globally. They are also typically more socially isolated than other seniors which can make a life-threatening situation even worse.

I thought this list of concerns was sincere in thought and worthy to be passed along. If you want to read the article at the Advocate you can after the jump.