In late May, Conde Nast’s LGBT site them us did everything possible to steer an emerging viral plague known as monkeypox away from the main demographic that was catching it – gay men.
The room headlined, “Monkeypox virus affects gay men, but has nothing to do with being gay,” said that “while a large proportion of those infected in [the] the current global epidemic identify as gay or bisexual men…there is no correlation between identity and disease.
“Blaming the gay community or gay behavior,” he concluded, “is not good public health.”
Last week the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a large-scale disease global emergency as the disease spread rapidly in just three months. At the end of May, 100 people were said to have had the virus; there are now more than 18,000 cases worldwide, including nearly 4,000 in the United States alone, According to the CDC. New York State also now calls monkeypox a “imminent threat.”
It is true that homosexuals are not “responsible” for the monkeypox epidemic. Like HIV or COVID-19, viruses cannot target specific communities. But these first cases of monkeypox were almost all contracted during large-scale “circuit parties” across Europe, which are almost exclusively frequented by gay men. It’s not stigma, it’s just a fact.
Another fact: sex was not the main mode of transmission, close physical contact was. Monkeypox is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact – the type of close physical contact that occurs at parties where groups of men, often half-dressed, dance nearby. (Unsurprisingly, the party circuits were also early super-spreading events of COVID).
The reluctance of the “woke” media and nervous health authorities to clarify this link is a shame. Their political correctness probably helped spread the disease.
Even though the majority of cases in May were already linked to gay male social venues, most media outlets not only refused to acknowledge this, but said it would encourage discrimination.
“Charities warn against stigmatization of gay and bisexual groups amid outbreak,” said The Independent. “Could Monkeypox bring a new wave of homophobia,” pondered Slate. “Blaming gay people for monkeypox will hurt everyone,” Scientific America anticipated.
Even the UN has weighed in on the potential monkeypox blame game, stating in a May 22 statement that the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was concerned “that certain media reports and commentaries reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes”.
Few things are more predictable than progressives blaming racism and homophobia for a public evil, but the monkeypox epidemic is taking that to confusing new levels. Much like other “woke” obsessions such as gun violence or the transgender debate, the insistence on putting politics above data and science has led to confusing messages — and very few solutions.
Today, ironically, LGBT leaders sing a different tune. As hundreds of cases cross New York and other metropolises, with almost all of them detected in homosexual men, suddenly, not only is monkeypox a “queer” disease, but community leaders are criticizing local health departments for not adequately treating the LGBT community. ‘Failure of public health’ is how California State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Matt Haney have described the the federal government’s response this month.
Even the lack of sufficient monkeypox vaccines — as well as a failed vaccination rollout across the United States — was due to, you guessed it, “homophobia,” according to a Los Angeles Times headline last week, as well as a “collective indifference that stems from the disease that largely afflicts LGBTQ communities.”
As a gay man of a certain age, this sounds all too familiar. Almost four decades ago, during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, doctors and LGBT community leaders like Larry Kramer urged gay men to adopt safer sex practices once it became clear that HIV was contracted through sexual contact. Some did, but many others refused, citing the shame and stigma that could come from being labeled a minority population. While the US government waited too long to sound the alarm, even as thousands died, the reluctance of some gay people to accept the facts of the virus’ spread also allowed the plague to spread faster. .
Although monkeypox is usually not fatal (it causes an unsightly rash and fever), it has this in common with AIDS: political correctness may have accelerated its status as a global health emergency. When a communicable disease occurs, people deserve to know the facts: how is it spread and who is most likely to suffer from it? Turning away from the truth helps no one.