I have something in my spirit for our nightlife folks today…
I’ve studied the AIDS epidemic for a long time. The failure of the initial response was a true nightmare, when a handful sounded the alarm only to be ignored by the government and our own community. Telling people they can’t do something is really difficult. It’s hard enough asking folks to wash their hands, I can’t imagine telling newly liberated queers not to have sex. I’ve found a deeper appreciation for those activists this week. I am also aware that we’re going to have to have the sex talk sometime soon. I’ve also found a new love for my community (from 6 ft away).
What’s amazed me is how fast my chosen family
got in formation this week.
80% of my chosen family are DJs, promoters, performers, artists, which also means servers and bartenders. Our entire lives (and rent) revolve around gathering. Promoters plan events months in advance, paying for flyers, videos, ads, airfare for talent, deposits for venues. Many of us pay our bills one event at a time. This nightlife economy is now looking at the calendar with creeping panic. Summer and Pride are just around the corner. It’s a scary time.
What’s amazed me is how fast my chosen family got in formation this week. My feed is full of cancellation announcements that put our larger community’s health first, understanding we have LGBT seniors and folks with immune system issues we need to take care of and encouraging one another to break the chain of infection. I’ve seen people donating to promoters, refusing refunds for tickets, spreading correct information in a cool manner.
There’s still so many questions about this current pandemic, and once again, we’re dealing with insane government incompetence, having to take care of our own. Yet, here we are, taking history lessons and applying them in record time. To folks that have made these tough choices, we see you, and so will history.
We finally started to learn how to live without that other virus, and we will learn to live and be rid of this one too. There’s going to be alot of learning and changing to do, but that’s what we excel at. Our community and culture has survived for hundreds of years, and it’s always been one day at time. Keep being kind to one another.
Leo Herrera is a queer Mexican artist, activist and writer. His work focuses on queer history, sexuality and nightlife. His latest piece FATHERS Project is a sci-fi web series that imagines AIDS never happened. Now streaming free at www.iftheylived.org. Follow @herreraimages
Ed note: This is a first person dispatch from the stand-back-i’ll-pinch-myself-nope-not-dreaming present. If you have a post to share; an experience, an interaction, an expert insight, or just a great bunch of words, please send it on to [tips at towleroad dot com] with “Covid Dispatch” in the subject and maybe we can figure some of this out together.