Jonathan Van Ness has slammed the U.S. government's response to monkeypox (MPV), saying that it is “fueled by homophobia and transphobia.”
In the essay published on Monday in Time, Van Ness breaks down the moment the first case of MPV was confirmed in the U.S. to now.
“When an outbreak affects mainly men who have sex with men, some portion of our elected legislators will have no incentive to act,” the nonbinary Queer Eye star wrote.
The first case of MPV was identified in the U.S. on May 18. Since then, the CDC reported 11,890 confirmed cases.
As cases began to rise in June, primarily spreading among queer men, Van Ness believed the government's negligence caused cases to increase exponentially.
“The U.S. has an inadequate supply of vaccines, and this shortage could have been prevented. If our government doesn’t prioritize more robust vaccine access, the outbreak is going to become an even greater problem,” the 35-year-old wrote.
MPV was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on July 23 by the World Health Organization. Soon after, the Biden administration acknowledged the outbreak in the U.S. as a public health emergency on August 4. With increased funding and staff for the outbreak, this past Monday, the administration announced an additional 442,000 doses of the vaccine would be made available to the public.
Van Ness, however, claims the government’s response is “a day late and a dollar short,” and the delay to be proactive against the virus is responsible for, “how young queer people become disenfranchised and disillusioned and believe that their leaders don’t care about them.”
His essay transitioned into a call to action for his fans to become educated and start forcing action from the government.
“If you’ve ever watched Queer Eye and “Yes, Queen”-ed along with me, I have an ask for you: put pressure on your state representatives and federal representatives to improve vaccine access. Let your legislators know that this is a priority for you as a voter,” Jonathon wrote.
Van Ness, who has been open about living with HIV, drew a parallel between the viruses. “There are still all these other diseases that people suffer from, and there’s so much stigma and so many barriers around access to care,” he said. “This isn’t just a monkeypox story. This is a story of how we consistently fail people on the margins.”