Monkeypox is a gay thing. We must say it (2022)

Warning: this article contains anti-LGBTQ slurs and images/descriptions of violence readers may find traumatizing.

By James Finn | DETROIT – Did you read about the group of staid U.S. historians who justmet privatelywith President Biden to warn him that U.S. democracy is teetering? They told him we’re closer to civil war and authoritarian rule than at any point in history since the 1860s.

Guess who knew that already? Queer people. Black people. Immigrants. Women. Politicians on the right are using us as punching bags, and violence is breaking out everywhere.

It’s not in our imaginations, and I’ll show you the data in just a minute to back that up. Then I’ll explain what that has to do with the breakdown of democracy.

But first, let’s meet some canaries.

See the two men above? They’re a gay couple brutally attacked this summer.

Chuck Johnson and J.P. Singh recentlytoldtheWashington Bladea group of young men spotted them holding hands steps away from their Washington D.C. home. As the couple were returning from an evening out, the group shouted that there were “faggots” and punched them both. The couple ran, but the men chased them down. They knocked Chuck to the ground, punching and kicking him.

— Facebook and Twitter are doing almost nothing to counter growing waves of anti-LGBTQ hate speech on their platforms. —

Responding to J.P.’s 911 call, EMS rushed Chuck to the hospital where he was treated for a broken thumb and underwent surgery for a jaw broken in two places.

According to theBlade,another gay couple were attacked in D.C. under similar unprovoked circumstances on August 7, chased down by random strangers who objected to them holding hands, then called them “monkeypox faggots,” knocking them to ground, brutally punching and kicking them.

(Video) Number Of Monkeypox Patients Are Gay And Bi-Sexual Men

Monkeypox is a gay thing. We must say it (1)

Chad Sanford, a transgender teen in Florida, is another canary.

AccordingtoPink News,Chad was first attacked when she was 14 years old in May 2021 at Florida’s Deerfield Middle School. That attack was captured on cellphone video and went viral. Chad received a lot of support and several of her attackers were arrested, but she told family she was struggling with suicidal thoughts.

On August 9th, she was attacked again by a different group of youths in her new Dania Beach neighborhood. They told her, “Don’t come around with that gay shit.”

If you click on the link in the caption, you can watch video of the attack. But fair warning, it’s shocking in its depiction of unrestrained violence and raw hatred.

Reports about Chad’s physical and mental health after the second attack are unclear, but her family are working with local LGBTQ support groups to get her counseling.

Monkeypox is a gay thing. We must say it (2)

Jacob and Christian, pictured above, are also canaries.

They’re a gay couple who were attacked while standing at the end of Christian’s driveway in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah in July. A group of young men in a car spotted them hugging. They jumped out, yelling, “We don’t like gay people in our street.”

Christian tried to defend Jacob from violence by stepping in front of him. He ended up on the ground, beaten so badly he landed in the hospital diagnosed with brain swelling.

Iinterviewed Christianand his family earlier this month and learned that he often puts up with anti-gay slurs shouted at him in the street by random strangers.

In the last 5 days, Libs of Tiktok has tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Boston Children's Hospital. As a result, BCH providers are being inundated in death threats and harassing calls and emails. It's now affecting their services. This is stochastic terrorism, full stop. pic.twitter.com/CEMlRsX6S4

— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) August 15, 2022

Healthcare workers at Boston Children’s Hospital are canaries, receiving death threats from strangers.

Over the past week, nurses and doctors in Boston have received a barrage of hateful phone calls and text messages, including at least one bomb threat, inspired by anti-LGBTQ extremist Chaya Raichik of Brooklyn who tweets asLibs of Tiktok.Raichik objects to parents choosing gender-affirming care for transgender teens, and she objects to medical providers delivering that care. She used Twitter to unleash an army of Proud Boys and other haters.

(Video) WHO Official on Monkeypox: 'This Is Not a Gay Disease'

Slate reporter and Harvard Law instructor Alejandra Caraballotweetedthis yesterday: “In the last 5 days, Libs of Tiktok has tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Boston Children’s Hospital. As a result, BCH providers are being inundated in death threats and harassing calls and emails. It’s now affecting their services. This is stochastic terrorism, full stop.”

When I saw the tweet, I called a friend of mine who practices internal medicine at a different Boston hospital. As I asked him for a comment, he reminded me that we watched the 2016 election returns together at a bar in Detroit.

“I won’t say I told you so,” he said. “But I told you so.”

I remembered how fearful he became the night Donald Trump was elected. “I’m from Lebanon,” he reminded me, “and my last name broadcasts ‘Arab’ loud and clear. Trump is going to make my life hell, and since you’re a gay man, you’d better be as worried as I am.”

He told me in 2016 that minorities always become targets in nations ruled by autocrats, dictators, or wannabees. I dismissed his concerns, insisting American democracy was too strong for one man to destroy.

“So what about Boston Children’s,” I asked last night. “Have you heard about the death threats?”

“Every doctor and nurse in Boston has heard about them,” he said. “People are getting phone calls at work and even at home, just the most random shit like my friend who picked up her phone and heard, ‘We know you’re a pedophile and we’re coming for you.’ She took some sick days and left town. Can you blame her?”

“Is service really being affected?”

“Kids with cancer are having appointments deferred because of staffing shortages. What do you think?”

Politicians are encouraging hatred of LGBTQ people, it’s spreading online, and hurting real people in the real world.

Libs of Tiktok is the tip of the iceberg on Twitter, where attacks against LGBTQ people are constant background noise, and where community standards meant to prohibit slurs and attacks are rarely enforced. Caraballo asks in her tweet thread, “When will Twitter do something about [Libs of TikTok] and their ability to rile up massive harassment campaigns against their targets? Last time it was Nazis at pride and drag events. This time it’s threatening pediatricians.”

According to a newstudyreleased on August 10 by theHuman Rights Campaignand theCenter for Countering Digital Hate, “discriminatory and inflamatory “grooming” content surge by over 400% across social media platforms” in response to Florida’sDon’t Say Gaylaw.

(Video) Monkeypox fears could stigmatize LGBTQ2S+ community, expert says

According to Christopher Kanewritingin theLos Angeles Blade,major social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter are doing almost nothing to counter growing waves of anti-LGBTQ hate speech on their platforms. Both platforms claim their rules prohibit users from calling LGBTQ people pedophiles or groomers, but neither platform routinely removes such slurs, not even when users report the slurs.

Hatred is not confined online

According to Alexandra MartinezwritinginPrism(no relationship toPrism & Pen), anti-LGBTQ arson and frequent street attacks in New York City have left queer people this summer living with a gnawing feeling of unease.

It’s not just New York City. She notes that 2021 was the deadliest year on record for LGBTQ people in the U.S., and that violence rates are surging higher in 2022.

Remember Ricky Shiffer who wasshot and killedlast Thursday after he tried to shoot up an Ohio FBI office? He was outraged that the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. He urged people to arm themselves and join him.

Did you know hatred of LGBTQ people is one of the reasons he supported Trump? Read this tweet, in an account deleted after his attack:

“We need to be ready for war against the communists who chemically nueter [sic] prebuscent [sic] children and call it gender transitioning, not bellyache about the arguments of 30 years ago. Save ammunition.”

That brings us back to our canaries and teetering democracy

Large majorities of Americans say they support LGBTQ equality. Large majorities of Americans say they believe our nation should stand for freedom and liberty for all, including for marginalized people. Large majorities of Americans support women’s reproductive freedom, support taking steps to lift up Black people, and support immigrant rights.

Large majorities of Americans want to live in a diverse, pluralistic society where everyone is free to pursue happiness and live in peace.

I wrote this column from the perspective of a queer person, but my Lebanese-American doctor friend could have written something similar from his immigrant perspective. My writer friend

Allison Gainescould have written from the perspective of a Black woman.

We share a common fear: that politically and religiously conservative white men are working as hard as they can to sow fear of the Other for personal power and privilege.Men like Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and many more are plying the demagogue’s trade.

(Video) Gay men coming down with Monkeypox, Sacramento health officials say get vaccinated

Leaders are spouting hate, seeking to establish or maintain minority rule, and historians are warning President Biden that they may very well succeed.

Chuck Johnson, J.P. Singh,Chad Sanford, Jacob Metcalf, Christian Peacock, and a score of nurses and doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital already know. They’ve been the targets of extreme violence in the past few weeks, directed by people using hatred of the Other to prop up their own privilege and power.

I opened this article by writing about the historians who told President Biden that we’re at a place we haven’t been since the 1860s. In the same meeting, they made a more frightening comparison.

Theywarned the presidentwe’re at a very similar place to where Germany found itself in the 1930s when a demague took power by demonizing the Jews. They say a war like the one that destroyed Europe could repeat itself soon, only with the U.S. in the driver’s seat.

We queer people feel like canaries in the coal mine

We worry the rest of you don’t see and hear the hatred directed against us. We worry that you’re too complacent. We don’t think you appreciate the gravity of the crisis facing our nation. We fear apathy will let the the Republican Party seize Congress and state governments this November, unleashing a process that could cement minority rule for generations.

Extremists in the Republican Party are already quietly taking over state election offices, something theWashington Postwarnedabout last November.

Will Democratic voter turnout this November be overwhelming? Will it be enough to stop the assault on our teetering Democracy?

Only you can help make that happen. Will you?

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Monkeypox is a gay thing. We must say it (3)

James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Queer Nation and Act Up NY, and an “agented” but unpublished novelist. Send questions, comments, and story ideas to[emailprotected]

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(Video) Not clear that monkeypox is confined to gay and bisexual groups, says WHO

The preceding articlewas previously publishedby Prism & Pen– Amplifying LGBTQ voices through the art of storytelling and is republished by permission.

Videos

1. Monkeypox homosexual spread
(Dr. John Campbell)
2. Gay community worried about monkeypox stigma
(CBC News: The National)
3. CDC Warns LGBTQ Community At Higher Risk To Get Monkeypox
(TODAY)
4. 'This is not a gay disease': WHO expert weighs in on monkeypox stigma | USA TODAY
(USA TODAY)
5. Man with monkeypox shares what it was like to contract the virus
(CNN)
6. Monkeypox Explained Clearly
(MedCram - Medical Lectures Explained CLEARLY)

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