You don’t need us to tell you that the spread of COVID-19 has left virtually everyone vulnerable -- to sickness, to unemployment, to boredom, you name it. But not everyone is equally affected in these types of situations. The need for social distancing has led to the mass temporary closures of businesses across the country that were deemed unnecessary, and limits have been placed on restaurants and bars allowing only for takeout and delivery service.
This unfortunately means layoffs for tons of unsalaried and service industry workers, of which a disproportionate amount identify as LGBTQ+. A new report released by the Human Rights Campaign found that 15% work in restaurants compared to their non-LGBTQ peers at only 6%. Plus, 17% of LGBTQ+ adults do not have any kind of health insurance.
“We are facing a global public health crisis, and as in all emergencies, the most marginalized are at increased risk,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Many in the LGBTQ community may lack the resources to effectively combat COVID-19, lacking access to paid sick leave or living without health coverage, and are more likely to work in an industry that has been most affected by the pandemic, putting them in greater economic jeopardy or increasing their exposure to the virus.”
Fortunately, despite our current inability to normally patron the many amazing gay bars in DC, there are still plenty of ways we can support our local LGBTQ+ community while staying safely on the couch -- from digital drag nights to buying some food or drinks (way) in advance.