As the country and economy slowly return to some level of normalcy, I can’t help but wonder: is it a good or a bad thing?
Since the early ’90s, Black Gay Prides across the country have fully rejuvenated the freedom of sex, friendship, reunions and a remembrance of how proud we are to be Black! We were liberated and bold, even at the height of HIV.
In the era of COVID-19 and the newly spreading virus, monkeypox, a stigma against survivors is not fair to those who have overcome either. Gay men currently constitute 95 percent of all U.S. monkeypox cases.
“In our need to be on trend and in the know, we do things that expose ourselves and others and cast a stigma of shame and bad behavior on the entire community,” said Lesley Dixon of the Georgia State University Prevention Research Center.
As gay men, we have a responsibility to destigmatize and counter misinformation from others not within our ranks, but also to act responsibly. I have witnessed people who tested positive for COVID-19 and monkeypox share “safe” spaces with others in close proximity. This behavior is selfish and shameless and disregards the health and safety of others.
With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the autonomy and agency over our bodies is under attack. It has been insinuated that marriage equality may be next on the chopping block.
A new age of activism in the fight for our freedoms is imperative and must be galvanized as it was when the first person threw a brick at the Stonewall riots. From 1969 to 1973, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera fought so that we may be afforded a freedom of expression that Black gays only dreamed of during that time.
During this new era of pandemics and viruses, let nothing threaten our sense of pride for each other or our love for our community.
If you or anyone you know is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or monkeypox, please contact your nearest health department or medical professional and enact the precautions necessary to keep us all safe and healthy.