Where is the leadership in our LGBTQ community during a pandemic?

In the 1980s in the early '90s the LGBTQ community was devastated by the HIV pandemic. Today, there is an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States still living with HIV and on average approximately 15,000 people die each year from the end trails of that pandemic. Business owners, activists, and the LGBTQ organizations took the lead in fighting the HIV pandemic. Why are we not taking the lead in the Covid-19 pandemic?

Phoenix Pride is scheduling what will be a potentially deadly super spreader event as they have chosen to hold the Pride festival in November with no mask or vaccine mandates.

In an official response, Phoenix Pride informed me they were following CDC guidelines/recommendations. That is simply not true as the top recommendation from the CDC is for every eligible person to be vaccinated. They will hand out masks, they will offer rapid tests and vaccines at the gate though they know the tests are not fully accurate and the administration of a vaccine does not make you immune the first day.

Furthermore, Phoenix Pride claims they will watch the CDC guidelines and numbers and adjust accordingly. No, they will not. If they do not announce vaccine mandate now there is no way they would do it a week before the event. 

Since Pride is usually in April and the Rainbow Festival is usually in October, one can only surmise they are having the Pride Festival for financial reasons and/or they plan on next year combining the two events and not have any Pride in April but permanently switch it to the fall. At least, that is the way it appears from the outside looking in for they are not the most transparent organization. But what other reason would you have for holding what could potentially be a super spreader event in the community you claim to work for and care for and promote. What other reason than finances would you hold such an event?

Can it be done safely?

Absolutely it can be done safely or as safe as possible during a pandemic. If they required vaccines for entry that would be the ultimate protection. If they believe that leaves some people out for those who cannot show proof of vaccination they should require a negative PCR tests in the past 72 hours and a rapid test required at the gate along with the requirement to wear a mask the entire time.

The most recent Gallop Poll shows 92% of the LGBTQ community across the nation has been vaccinated. Though that number may be a little lower here in Arizona for unknown reasons, it is still a high majority and it would make best business practice sense to require vaccines to draw the most consumers. 

Imagine how many in the LGBTQ community not only here in Arizona, but in nearby California, Nevada, and New Mexico would love to participate in a safe event. I believe such an event would be a financial win for Phoenix Pride as well as our local economy.

The real bottom line is: Do we care about human life and are we willing to do what we can to protect it?

We certainly did in the 1980s-'90s, but there seems to be no sign of that now.

Perhaps we should boycott the Pride Festival and show up at the first LGBTQ business brave enough to take a leadership role by doing the right thing and requiring vaccines. Phoenix Pride seems to have no interest in taking such a role.

Photo courtesy of The Dinah

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Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

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