Afraid, like everyone, and facing an extra layer of worry

No matter who or where you are in this uncertain time, it’s hard not to feel worried. For many Latinx and LGBTQ people nationwide, an added element of fear haunts their days and nights.

There’s the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with and then, for many, there are worries about accessing health care or going into detention if they are undocumented and or trans or queer. Add to that, the anxiety many of us feel about family, friends, and loved ones who may be too afraid to access medical care. NewNowNext shared this heartbreaking story of a young queer asylum seeker from Honduras sick with the corona flu but sleeping in his freezing cold car for fear of infecting others.

So many of LGBTQ people are reeling from the loss of beloved community members such as prolific playwright Terrence McNally and Nashom Wooden, who was well known as drag queen Mona Foot, and so many others.  Even as we celebrated Transgender Day of Visibility, the national trans Latinx community and, indeed, the entire Latinx LGBTQ community was heartbroken over the death of Lorena Borjas, who died a few days ago in New York of COVID-19 related health issues.

Lorena, pictured above at the Latinx Institute at Creating Change, which she helped organize, (center right in the cap and red top) was revered for the way she fought to save the lives of transgender women, immigrants, Latinas, people living with HIV, formerly incarcerated people and sex workers. She was honored for her accomplishments by dozens of leaders and organizations and loved by many. Watch this video to learn more about this amazing leader. 

Queens Stories: The Story of Lorena Borjas: The Transgender Latina Activist from Queens Public Television on Vimeo.

Trans leaders joined this week to remember Lorena:


Latinx LGBTQ leaders also report worrying about a disproportionate economic impact on Latinx workers, including those whose incomes support families. As you may have read, thousands of children separated from their parents are still living in shelters and, according to reports, some are testing positive for COVID-19. Millions of other kids, whose immigrant parents are documented, depend on now-shuttered schools as not merely a place to learn but a place to eat their meals because of food uncertainty. "The Doubled Fears of the Undocumented During the Coronavirus Shutdown" in the New Yorker, paints a picture of what life is like right now for many Latinx families.

LGBTQ people in so many communities are strongly impacted by the health crisis. Here is a list of some of ways we have been affected by COVID-19:

  • LGBTQ youth and college students who are forced to return or stay at home might be returning to unwelcoming homes.
  • According to HRC's research brief on COVID-19, a disproportionate number of LGBTQ people work in restaurants, retail, education, and industries that are heavily impacted by COVID-19.
  • The National LGBT Cancer Network launched a response letter to COVID-19 noting that LGBTQ people use tobacco at rates that are 50% higher than general population, making them more susceptible. 
  • The letter also noted that the LGBTQ population has higher rates of HIV and cancer, which means a greater number of us may have compromised immune systems.
  • According to the National LGBT Cancer Network's letter, LGBTQ people also continue to experience discrimination, unwelcoming attitudes, and lack of understanding from providers and staff in many health care settings.
  • LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the general population to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid medical leave, and basic necessities during the pandemic.

GLAAD joined the National LGBT Cancer Network's open letter calling on U.S. public health officials and media to address the heightened vulnerability of LGBTQ people to COVID-19. GLAAD also joined an open letter organized by AIDS United which calls on Congress to recognize the increased vulnerability of people living with HIV to COVID-19.

We probably don’t have to say this, because we know ours is a generous and loving community—but reach out to your friends, including your Latinx and or immigrant friends or acquaintances. They may be feeling more vulnerable and afraid than you realized.