Tag: covid

Trans woman denied life-saving COVID vaccine due to ‘mismatched ID’

Woman Getting a Flu Vaccine

A trans woman was refused the COVID-19 vaccine. (Stock photograph via Elements Envato)

A trans woman in Oklahoma was denied the life-saving coronavirus vaccine because she had a “mismatched” identity document.

The resident, who has not been named, was turned away by the Logan County Health Department because her name did not match what was written on her ID card.

She sought to explain this administrative snag to healthcare officials – she was waiting on the paperwork, she claimed – but the department still refused, KOCO5 News reported.

Frustrated, the woman reached out to Freedom Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s sole statewide LGBT+ advocacy group, for help – and they were prepared for a fight.

Oklahoma vows to ‘rectify’ trans woman denied vaccine

Tweeting the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the group wrote: “Why is Logan Co Health Department turning away a trans woman trying to get a vaccine and telling us to take it up with the state?”

The department replied on 14 April that it is coordinating with both county health officials and activists to “rectify” what happened.

“It is a top priority to ensure equity in our state’s public health system, including ensuring every Oklahoman has access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” it added.

State officials later stressed that the incident was a one-time thing in a statement to activists.

“The equity of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution has always been paramount in the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s effort to vaccinate Oklahoma,” a spokesperson for the department said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, a situation with a resident being denied a vaccine, due to a mismatched ID, at one of our county health departments was handled poorly.”

In Oklahoma, trans locals face an uphill climb all too common in the US to have their name and gender changed on identification documents.

Applicants must acquire a court order or note from a physician proving they have undergone gender-affirming surgery, according to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Name Change Information.

While more and more state legislators have cleaned up these confusing legal frameworks, making it easier to acquire accurate ID, roadblocks – and there are many – remain.

In the confusing patchwork of US states that allow trans people to update their documents – or not at all – the muddled system, at times, limits what kinds of services trans people can access.

Processes to change a driver’s licence or birth certificate widely varies from state to state, monitoring group National Center for Transgender Equality shows.

But policymakers aren’t exactly lacking in reasons to iron out these processes.

According to a report from the Williams Institute, 42 per cent of trans people who are eligible to vote in 45 American states do not have accurate identification documents. Researchers estimate that’s more than 350,000 trans Americans.

Moreover, a trans person simply having a passport or birth certificate with the correct gender can drastically improve their mental health, a study found.

While many states do not offer a gender-neutral option for non-binary, gender nonconforming and intersex folk.

Even then, some people (and countries and international agencies, such as the United Nations) question whether there’s even a need for a gender marker on identity documents at all.

COVID ‘amplifying’ inequalites faced by queer Black people, study shows

COVID 'amplifying' inequalites faced by queer Black people, study shows

Black LGBT+ lives land in the intersection of racism and homophobia. (Getty/Hollie Adams)

The COVID-19 pandemic is placing huge strain on Black queer households as decades of discrimination compound economic insecurity, a worrying new study has found.

The report released by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) identifies American communities that are bearing the brunt of COVID-19, noting that LGBT+ households were disproportionately challenged in work, school, childrearing, healthcare, financial insecurity and social isolation.

In particular Black and Latinx LGBT+ people are facing significantly higher levels of financial insecurity, with a shocking 95 per cent of queer Black households and 70 per cent of queer Latinx households experiencing at least one serious financial problem since the pandemic began.

And more than half of Black LGBT+ households have been unable to get medical care or had delayed medical services because of the economic strain of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has disrupted life for all of us. Yet, some communities have borne the brunt: Black and Latinx people, low-income people, and, as this new data shows, LGBT+ people,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director at MAP.

“Decades of discrimination on the job, in healthcare and beyond, combined with uneven legal protections around the country make LGBT+ people more vulnerable to pandemic-related instability and insecurity, with an even more devastating impact on LGBT+ people of colour.”

The long history of racial discrimination in the US is contributing to many problems, but the disparity is also seen in the wider LGBT+ community, with queer people of all backgrounds experiencing increased challenges compared to the straight population.

For example, LGBT+ households are twice as likely to be unable to get necessary medical care and four times more likely to go hungry.

Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of LGBT+ people and their families experienced a job loss or disruption, compared to just under half (45 per cent) of non-LGBT+ households.

29 per cent had serious problems with internet connection for work or schoolwork at home, compared with 17 per cent of non-LGBT+ families. And a quarter were unable to access prescription drugs or experienced a delay, compared to just eight per cent of straight people.

“It’s clear that the COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated disparities that existed before the pandemic,” concluded Logan Casey, policy researcher at MAP.

“LGBT+ people were more likely to struggle with economic stability and have challenges with access to health care prior to COVID, and that’s even more true now.

“The existing patchwork of legal protections is insufficient, which is why we need a nationwide law like the Equality Act so that LGBTQ people in every community are protected from discrimination.”






Bolsonaro says Brazil must stop being a country of “fags” in its response to COVID / Queerty

Bolsonaro says Brazil must stop being a country of “fags”

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro
President Jair Bolsonaro (Photo: Alan Santos/PR, via CC-BY-2.0)

Brazil’s far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro, has again whipped up homophobic sentiment with his most recent comments on COVID-19.

At a press conference on Tuesday at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Bolsonaro suggested Brazil couldn’t grind to a halt in its efforts to slow transmission of the coronavirus.

“I regret the deaths. I really do. But all of us are going to die one day,” he told journalists, according to AFP. “There is no point in escaping from that, in escaping from reality. We have to stop being a country of fags (maricas). We have to face up to it and fight. I hate this f****t stuff”

“Maricas” is a slang Portuguese term for gay men, which is best translated as “sissies” or “fags.” Some media outlets have translated it as “sissies” but others have gone with “fags.”

Bolsonaro’s comments come despite Brazil having the second-highest COVID death rate in the world. With over 162,000 deaths, it is second only to the U.S. It has had over 5.7million reported cases, and health experts believe that could be a serious undercount of the true number. Bolsonaro was diagnosed with the virus in July.

Prior to his own diagnosis, he had reportedly mocked staff who wore facemasks, saying they were, “coisa de viado”. Another homophobic slur, this roughly translates as “for fairies”.

Related: Brazil’s Bolsonaro said masks were “for fairies” – before he got COVID-19

Bolsonaro has a history of homophobia. Back in 2011, he said in an interview with Playboy, “I would be incapable of loving a gay son”, suggesting it would be better for such a son to die in a car accident.

In 2018, during a filmed interview, Bolsonaro said, “Yes, I’m homophobic – and very proud of it.”

Last year, Bolsonaro spoke out about allowing Brazil to become a “gay tourism paradise.”

Bolsonaro is a major ally of President Donald Trump. He remains one of the few, major world leaders to not yet offer congratulations to Joe Biden on becoming President-Elect.

Related: Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro slams nation’s gay tourism as affront to “families”

These six gay bars received grants from HRC to help them survive COVID / GayCities Blog

These six gay bars received grants from HRC to help

Partying on the El Rio patio in pre-pandemic times
Partying on the El Rio patio, in San Francisco, in pre-pandemic times (Photo: El Rio)

Six U.S. bars serving the LGBTQ community are among the businesses to receive grants from advocacy organization HRC (Human Rights Campaign) to help them survive the pandemic.

Across much of the world, gay venues are struggling to survive. Trading conditions were tough before the pandemic. Lesbian bars, in particular, have fallen in number dramatically over the last decade. Now, with lockdown restrictions in many areas, the situation is dire.

Related: The iconic venues that won’t be returning after COVID-19

HRC has patterned with broadcaster SHOWTIME to launch its ‘Queer to Stay’ grant initiative. It announced the ten queer-run recipients of it ‘LGBTQ+ Business Preservation’ grants last week.  The successful businesses were selected from a huge number of applicants. The exact size of the grant has not been revealed, with a HRC spokesperson telling the Bay Area Reporter only that it’s, “five figures.” Each business will receive the same amount.

“We must preserve affirming, welcoming community spaces for LGBTQ+ people – including young people who may not have supportive families or communities at home,” said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.

“HRC is thrilled to be partnering with SHOWTIME to support LGBTQ+-serving businesses in order to ensure that they can continue to provide a space for LGBTQ+ people to express ourselves freely, find community and be our authentic selves.”

The bars and clubs to receive grants were the following.

The Alibi Lounge, New York

The Alibi Lounge (Photo: Facebook)
The Alibi Lounge (Photo: Facebook)

The Alibi Lounge in Harlem is one of New York City’s only last remaining black-owned LGBTQ venues. It’s been in danger of shuttering since the start of the pandemic.

“The award is great recognition for the hard work that we do every single day,” its owner, Alexi Minko, told GayCities. “In a pragmatic way it will help with everyday, common expenses for a small business (rents, salaries, we had to pay sales tax on the 21st for instance).

“We also have a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe called “Everyone Needs An Alibi“. We have been humbled by the level of support! Supporting a small local business is investing in the long-term future of a neighborhood, especially when the small business is black gay-owned in a minority-dominated area!”

Related: NYC’s last Black-owned gay bar fights for survival

Pearl Bar, Houston

The Pearl Bar is Houston’s only lesbian bar. It posted a message about the grant to its Instagram last week, saying, “It has been a hard road getting through this, but between our community and this ‘Queer to Stay’ initiative, we are excited to open slowly starting this weekend.”

Bar owner Julie Mabry said in a statement, “We deserve to spend our money where we are treated with respect and welcomed from the moment we walk in the door. Even through this pandemic, it has become more obvious than ever that there is still a lot of hate in this country and I think now more than ever we need to protect our safe spaces.”

El Rio, San Francisco

(Photo: El Rio)
(Photo: El Rio)

El Rio has a history going back to 1978 when it was opened in the Mission district by Malcolm Thornley and Robert Nett as a Leather Brazilian bar. They retired in 1997 and the bar was taken over by Dawn Huston. General manager Lynne Angel told Bay Area Reporter that El Rio brings together, “an extremely diverse intersection of communities in San Francisco,” and that “the heart of our community includes LGBTQ+ communities of color and their friends.”

The bar is currently closed, as per San Francisco city restrictions. Huston told BAR, “Currently, we are in hibernation mode and plan to use the funds to maintain ourselves until we can safely reopen.”

Herz, Mobile

Herz is the only lesbian focused space in Mobile, Alabama.

“We are so grateful for the grant as it has allowed us to make some much-needed repairs, as well as meet the demands of the business that would have otherwise been extremely difficult to meet,” manager Rachel Broughton told GayCities.

“With recent hurricanes, curfew, and bar closures we have seen a significant decline in business and we’re not sure when the curfew will be lifted in our area. The grant from HRC and SHOWTIME has made all of the difference in the world!

The bar would still welcome more funding via a new Crowdfunder it’s launched.

My Sister’s Room, Atlanta

My Sister’s Room has been Atlanta’s premier lesbian bar for almost a quarter of a century.

“Being one of the most diverse bars in the country where everyone is welcome makes a huge impact on our community. People want to come where they see a reflection of themselves,” said owners of My Sister’s Room Jennifer Maguire and Jami Maguire to the Georgia Voice.

“People have been coming to My Sister’s Room for years for gatherings, community, or in times when they need a friendly face. They know that they have a place to come home to. We hope to continue the legacy another 25 years.”

Blush & Blu, Denver

“Distinct drinkery” Blush and Blu is the last remaining lesbian bar in Denver, Colorado (compared to 15 years ago, when there were around five bars catering to queer women).

“We are so proud to be selected as a recipient of the #QueerToStay business preservation initiative!” the bar said in on Instagram. “Thank you @HumanRightsCampaign and @Showtime for putting a focus on LGBTQ+ businesses as we navigate these uncertain times.”

Besides the aforementioned bars and clubs, four other businesses received grants: Amplio Fitness in Rocky Rover, OH; Doyenne barbershop in Charlotte, NC; Freed Bodyworks – a wellness and yoga center – in Washington DC; and SalonBenders, a hair salon in Long Beach, CA.

Related: ‘Sit On My Face’ fundraiser helps San Francisco gay bar survive pandemic 

Guys list their favorite gay saunas around the world (for when covid is over) / Queerty

Guys list their favorite gay saunas around the world (for

Someday (hopefully) soon, quarantine practices will be phased out, and we’ll be free to travel around the world.

On Reddit, users are listing their favorite saunas, prompted by a guy asking for steamy recommendations.

“Maybe you’re like me — deprived of human touch since the pandemic and reminiscing about your past ways,” the original poster wrote, kicking off the conversation. “While gay saunas are not for every guy, I miss going to safe places to meet men and just feel liberated.”

Related: In response to coronavirus, gay sauna refuses entry to people who are ‘too hot’

Here are the saunas commenters recommended, illustrated with Instagram pics geotagged at each location.

The Babylon, Bangkok, Thailand

Der Boiler, Berlin, Germany

Sauna Sitges, Barcelona, Spain

Sauna Paraíso, Madrid, Spain

Related: Guys reveal their best and worst bathhouse experiences

Sauna Hispalis, Seville, Spain

Sauna Condal, Barcelona

Steamworks, Chicago, USA