NBC NEWS – For many gay and bisexual men, the sprawling and chaotic monkeypox outbreak has upended a summer that was supposed to be a well-earned opportunity — following the peak of the Covid crisis — to finally have some fun and revel with their gay brothers without the threat of viral infection hanging over them.
Soon after Memorial Day, however, these men, as well as transgender individuals and other queer people — GBTQ for short, because lesbians’ monkeypox risk is remote — were met head-on with harrowing reports about monkeypox’s often devastating and disfiguring effects on the body.
Next came anger and frustration over what queer activists characterize as the Biden administration’s fumbling initial response to the outbreak.
Lost amid the frantic media and public health reports about monkeypox epidemiology, the delayed vaccine deliveries and the squabbling over how best to communicate about the virus are the millions of GBTQ people whose happiness, well-being and connection to one another have in many cases been considerably compromised by the mere threat of monkeypox infection.
“Life has sort of halted,” said Guillermo Rojas, 29, a Mexican citizen and public administration graduate student in New York City. “This was supposed to be the great summer that everything went back and opened.”
“I’ve stopped going to sex parties. I additionally stopped cruising at the gym, I did not continue to go to Fire Island, and I stopped attending orgies.”
Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, a psychiatrist at the LGBTQ-health-focused Fenway Institute in Boston, said the outbreak has “been extremely distressing for community members and is also triggering in that it harkens back to the early days of the AIDS epidemic. It has a chilling effect on people’s sense of community, cohesion and belonging.”
Fortunately, there has been at most one U.S. monkeypox death in the U.S. — a potential case in a severely immunocompromised person in Texas is under investigation … READ MORE.