“There is a genuine fear within the LGBTQ+ community.”
A new survey from Queer Voices Heard has found that over half of the LGBTQ community think their lives will be negatively impacted by the coronavirus, which has taken the lives of 19,000 people worldwide (as of writing).
According to the research, 57% of queer people believe their lives will be worse off in six months, while 32% are concerned about the impact the virus will have on their physical health because of existing medical conditions.
28% are worried about passing it onto others, 91% believe it is a threat to their health and those aged 65+ consider the virus more of a threat than younger people. 84% said they have a “fair amount” of knowledge about the pandemic due to coverage.
More worryingly, the survey discovered that 24% of the LGBTQ community will still attend house parties and meet-ups, 28% will go on dates and 16% will meet for sex and hook-ups – despite the current lockdown measures in place.
Stu Hosker, co-founder of Queer Voices Heard, said: “Whilst LGBTQ+ people are no more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population, this pandemic does present a unique set of circumstances for our community in terms of its social impact.
“We are already seeing many Pride events being cancelled. These aren’t parties. Yes, they’re a celebration; but for many in our community they are one of very few opportunities to freely express who they are and to connect with others.
“Similarly, with LGBTQ+ venues, queer meet-up events and networks, and even meeting others on dating apps.
“When mental health and social isolation already disproportionately affects our community than the general population, it’s vital that we listen to the voices in our community who are most vulnerable – physically, mentally, and socially – and address how we keep their best interests in mind during this unprecedented health emergency.”
Max Willson, lead researcher on the study, said there is a “genuine fear within the LGBTQ+ community, which is shared more widely in society, that COVID-19 poses a real threat” to our physical and mental health and “way of life”.
He explained: “The way we live our lives will undoubtedly change because of COVID-19 and the way in which our community, and society more generally, adapts to these changes will be key over the next six months.
“People believe it is the responsibility of a plethora of individuals (notably government, healthcare organisations and LGBTQ+ media) to lead the way forward during this turbulent time.”
Social distancing and staying inside has been advised by government and health officials to help fight the spread of the virus.
It is also encouraged that we wash our hands frequently, avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth, and practice respiratory hygiene by covering our mouth and nose with our bent elbow or tissue when we cough or sneeze.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, it is vital that you seek medical care.
For more information, check out the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on the coronavirus pandemic here.