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gay neighborhoods used the traumas of HIV to help American cities fight coronavirus
How gay neighborhoods used the traumas of HIV to help American cities fight coronavirus

By Daniel Baldwin Hess & Alex Bitterman

Throughout the pandemic, local neighborhoods have played a critical and well-documented role providing the health and social services necessary for American communities and businesses to survive and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gay neighborhoods were particularly well equipped to meet this challenge, according to our latest research on these communities.

We find that the lessons learned and trauma experienced early in the HIV/AIDS pandemic helped urban gay areas respond to COVID-19 quickly and effectively – especially in the face of early federal government paralysis.

Gay neighborhoods are those that welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and other sexual minorities – a population generally referred to by the shorthand LGBTQ+. Well-known examples include the Castro district in San Francisco, Dupont Circle in Washington and Greenwich Village and Chelsea in New York City.

“Gayborhoods” grew during the sexual liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s, offering LGTBQ people and their allies an escape from pervasive discrimination and prejudice. In these areas, sexual minorities could rent apartments, socialize in bars and express themselves freely in a like-minded, compassionate community.

Even as LGBTQ people in the U.S. began to live more openly, gay neighborhoods really coalesced around the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

When that mysterious new disease began ravaging the LGBTQ community in the 1980s, the U.S. government turned away from, not toward, those communities. Support critical for fighting HIV – including health care subsidies for uninsured people and funding for research on treatments and cures – was initially not provided. Information given by governments about disease transmission and treatment was inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate.
Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: 
''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!
Not much has me thinking there are disadvantages in living out here in the Tasmanian wilderness but reminding me of ‘gayborhoods’ has. The speed in which the gay community organised itself at the start of the AIDS epidemic made me proud to be a poof. I won’t however forget the wonderful upper middle class church ladies, dykes and ordinary straight men & women who threw themselves into care team work. Restored my fragile faith in our species.
The Human Race is Insane.

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