As government restrictions are lifting in parts of the world that have managed to contain and control the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we remain vigilant and not forget that we are still living in the middle of a pandemic. Many countries including India are only now facing their most serious wave of infection, and the lack of roll out and the slow uptake of vaccines has guaranteed that it will be long before we reach herd immunity.
The excitement of night clubs, gay bars, and community gatherings opening back up comes with many temptations! If you’re as ready as we are to get back into nightlife after a year+ of quarantine, there’s a few things you need to know to make sure you are making the best choices for yourself and for your community!
- Know Your Risk!
We learn more and more every day about the COVID-19 virus, how it spreads, how it can mutate, and how effective vaccines are. Stay up to date with the latest WHO recommendations and your government’s health guidelines. Make sure to vet opinion pieces and click-baity headlines and avoid spreading myths and misinformation. Get tested if you are sick. Get vaccinated when you can. As you expand your social bubble, make sure you know what precautions other people are or are not taking.
- Know Your Boundaries!
If you’re not ready to go back to the way things were again that’s totally okay! Communication and consent are key. Being around a bunch of hotties after a year watching porn and jerking off on Zoom in quarantine is exciting! But don’t assume that everyone is as ready to be touched as you are (or as horny). Ask people what they’re comfortable with before making a move. It’s that simple. If you feel uncomfortable, speak up, take the space you need, or even walk out of the situation entirely.
- Know Your History!
Shame has permeated throughout the gay community for too long. It’s time for us to get over #GaysOverCOVID. We saw the effects of this with the HIV epidemic, and how shame led to the unjust criminalization laws for HIV. We cannot continue to allow our community to be scapegoated for public health. Seeing “vaxx4vaxx” and “mask4mask” on the apps is a huge step backwards. Let’s stop judging each other for wanting to hook up, wanting to travel, wanting to be in charge of our own health. Don’t shame others for how quickly or slowly they are willing to readjust to the real world. As a community, let’s maintain the culture of uplifting one another!
Learn more about LGBTI advocates’ response to COVID-19 at mpactglobal.org/covid-19