By The One Colorado Team: Daniel, Sheena, Michael, Marv, Garrett, Branden, Mikayla, Jessica, Jordan, Heidi, and Kris.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities are very familiar with the phenomena of stigma and epidemics.
At this time, out of an abundance of caution and care for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families, we are postponing all One Colorado in-person events scheduled through April 30th, 2020. This includes all volunteer activities, fundraising events, education events, our 'What the LGBTQ health?' Statewide Tour, and our Southern Colorado Ally Awards.
We remain committed to providing safe, secure, and meaningful ways for you to connect with us, with each other, and with our community, and we are exploring ways that technology can help us do that, including with our 'What the LGBTQ health?' Statewide Tour. To help offset the unforeseen costs associated with this, donate here.
As the spread of the novel coronavirus a.k.a. COVID-19 increases, many LGBTQ people are understandably concerned about how this virus may affect us and our communities. We want to remind folks handling COVID-19 surveillance, response, treatment, and media coverage that LGBTQ communities are among those who are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of this virus.
Our increased vulnerability is a direct result of three factors:
- The LGBTQ population uses tobacco at rates that are 50% higher than the general population. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that has proven particularly harmful to smokers.
- The LGBTQ population has higher rates of HIV and cancer, which means a greater number of us may have compromised immune systems, leaving us more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections.
- LGBTQ people continue to experience discrimination, unwelcoming attitudes, and lack of understanding from providers and staff in many health care settings, and as a result, many are reluctant to seek medical care except in situations that feel urgent – and perhaps not even then. Access to affirming, affordable healthcare is a barrier for many in our communities.
In addition, there are more than 3 million LGBTQ older people living in the United States. LGBTQ elders are already less likely than their heterosexual and cisgender peers to reach out to health and aging providers, like senior centers, meal programs, and other programs designed to ensure their health and wellness, because they fear discrimination and harassment. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on older people – the current mortality rate is at 15% for this population – makes this a huge issue for the LGBTQ communities as well.