Photo by Noah on Unsplash

This pandemic is dragging on and on. With cases still surging, driven by the Omicron variant, many of us are going back to the strict, sane, and sensible rules to stay out of the deadly bug's way.

Think you need a refresher course? Follow this guide to staying occupied in a very gay way.

Watch queer hottie Nico Tortorella read you his book

Gender-fluid sex symbol and actor Nico Tortorella began reading a chapter a day from his book Space Between, a personal memoir of love, identity, and acceptance, on March 21. You can access the archived videos on his Instagram stories @nicotortorella.

Write positive reviews for your favorite LGBTQ-owned businesses

With LGBTQ bars dwindling – and perhaps more going away for good as a result of the coronavirus crisis that has shut down most gathering places —now’s the time to show them love. Head to Yelp and write positive reviews to boost business when business resumes. Don’t limit yourself to bars though. Leave reviews for more LGBTQ-owned establishments like restaurants, campgrounds, resorts, hotels, tour companies, and other services.

Can the Queens Play Drinking Games: CAN DO QUEENS 105 youtu.be

Play a Drag Race drinking game

Every time a queen cries or rolls her eyes, take a sip of your quarantini.

Calm yourself by watching plants grow

Sure, watching plants grow sounds about as fun as re-watching AJ and the Queen, but during this time of high-anxiety, relaxation techniques are necessary. The Facebook page Funny Lover hosts a five-minute video titled “The Amazing Dance of Nature: Watch Plants Grow” that will have you in a moment of Zen by the end.

Sing along to your favorite Broadway musicals

With your seven-day free trial from BroadwayHD.com, you can stream a wide catalog of classic and new musicals, including Kinky Boots, The King and I, Sound of Music, and a stage version of Cats that won’t have Taylor Swift terrorizing your nightmares. Pour your fancy ass a glass of bubbly and belt out your favorite show tunes for the whole gayborhood to hear.

Antoni Porowski's Comfort Food is a Polish Classic | Queer Eye | Netflix youtu.be

Cook with Antoni Porowski

Queer Eye’s professional hotdog chef is expanding his culinary skills in a series of Instagram cooking videos he’s calling “Quar Eye: Cooking Lessons in Quarantine,” where he’ll show you how to make ordinary dishes, like omelets, zoodles with meat, leftovers, salmon and squash, and chicken. You won’t actually learn much, but whatever, he’s hot.

Binge queer TV, movies, news, and podcasts

Try to limit your couch potato time while sheltering in place — spring and summer aren’t canceled quite yet — but when you do need to veg out and distract, stream new queer content including the drama film I Am Jonas and Fortune Feimster’s hilarious standup special Sweet & Salty on Netflix, Q News Tonight available live nightly at 7 p.m. EDT on its same-name website, or download the LGBT Stories podcast from creator and host Kevin Gerdes via iTunes and Spotify.

Attend a virtual church service at Christ Lutheran Church Webster Groves

This Missouri-based Reconciling in Christ congregation became an all-are-welcome church two years ago and recently named a lesbian as its new pastor. Its in-person services are canceled for the time being, but pastor Meagan is continuing to deliver faith and testimony to anyone who wants to tune in live via Zoom through the church’s Facebook page on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. CDT and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. CDT.

Stay fit with live workouts online

Planet Fitness is offering ‘Home Work-Ins” to members and nonmembers alike on its Facebook page, streamed live Mondays to Fridays at 7 p.m. EDT for the duration of the gym’s physical-location shutdowns. No equipment is needed and all classes will be 20 minutes or less. Of course, you can always rely on your thirst-trap gym rats on Instagram to give you a workout — however you see fit.

THE LOUVRE 🏛️ Museum: Looted, priceless Egyptian antiquities (Paris, France) youtu.be

Tour museum exhibits and enjoy symphonies virtually

Tour the Louvre's Egyptian antiquities department and the recently restored Galerie d’Apollon, Madrid’s Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza “Rembrandt and Portraiture in Amsterdam, 1590-1670” exhibit, and the Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms through the respective institutions’ online portals. You also can take a self-guided virtual tour of the National Museum of Natural History in New York, made possible by the Smithsonian. The Philharmonie Berlin offers its digital library of more than 600 shows while the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is live-streaming its performances on YouTube free of charge until live in-house performances resume.

Get to know Chaturbate again

Be a good human, turn off the sex apps to mitigate the spread of all viruses, and practice self-love. You know what to do, pro.

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.

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LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.