This ain’t our first rodeo folks!
A recent survey by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that 92% of LGBTQIA+ adults in the USA had at least one COVID-19 jab compared to 71% of the general population.
While we would love to show you similar statistical data for Australia, it’s not forthcoming but if we rely on anecdotal evidence, we here at DNA would guess that gays are also leading the vaccine uptake here.
It makes sense. The AIDS crisis in the ’80s had a whole generation turning to pharmaceutical companies for life-prolonging (and eventually saving) medications. Many were happy to take part in medical trials at a time when diagnosis almost certainly equalled death. At the time there was no widespread mention of conspiracy theories or concerns about microchipping by the government. It was a period that cemented our working relationship with doctors, and moreover marked the beginning of community groups that offered advocacy, support and clear messaging when it became apparent we only had ourselves to rely on.
Fast forward to the present and now everyone is either taking an antiretroviral or on PrEP, ensuring more regular interactions with our GPs than our straight brethren and reinforcing that we, as individuals, are responsible for our own health.
These same principles and relationships have likely been applied to our COVID-19 vaccination ethos.
Or maybe we’re a just little more relaxed about drugs in general, given we rarely know the providence or testing regimes of the non-pharmaceuticals we might consume on the dancefloor or in the bedroom.
It’s that dancefloor, or memory of, that perhaps has made us equally proactive when it comes to getting the jab – the same survey suggesting that Covid isolation significantly impacted LGBTQIA+ people, which may have motivated prompt vaccination in order to re-enter the community.
While vaccination rates are high, the survey also noted that COVID-19 took a significant toll on the well-being of respondents with 59% reporting that COVID-19 made them feel socially isolated and 50% saying it impacted their mental health.
And a reminder not to forget how supportive we are as a community are, with DNA witnessing firsthand how information raced along the pink hotline with friends calling friends to share information on the best places to secure a jab when government messaging was far from clear.
What is clear, though, is that vaccines are our way out of this pandemic – and we should be proud that the rainbow flag is leading the way.