Out elected officials from around the nation will take part Thursday in a National LGTBQ Town Hall focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the community.
California State Sen. Scott Wiener and New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman will host the event, which will also feature Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Texas State Rep. Julie Johnson, California Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, and Pennsylvania State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. It will stream live at 6 p.m. Eastern on Zoom and on Wiener and Hoylman's Facebook pages.
Because rates of cancer, HIV, and respiratory issues (due to smoking) are higher in the LGBTQ community than in the general population, LGBTQ people are likely experiencing greater health impacts from COVID-19, notes a press release from Wiener's office. But there is currently no state or national effort to collect data on how COVID-19 is affecting LGTBQ Americans. Additionally, LGTBQ people are experiencing significant financial hardship because of COVID-19's economic impacts, as they are more likely to work in impacted sectors like the service industry and are more likely to experience housing insecurity.
As part of this town hall, these elected officials will discuss the need for federal and state governments to collect data on COVID-19's impact on LGBTQ individuals, the need for the Food and Drug Administration to loosen its restrictions on blood donations by gay and bisexual men, the cancellation of in-person Pride celebrations locally, and state efforts to support the LGBTQ community economically through this challenging time.
"Our community is resilient, and we've faced and survived a plague," Wiener said in the release. "But we need more government support -- including data collection and focused resources -- to ensure that LGBTQ people make it through this pandemic and that we aren't invisible. Very few governments are currently focusing on the pandemic's unique impacts on LGBTQ people, and that needs to change."
Go here to register for the event on Zoom.