Just days ago we ran a story – Monkeypox Potentially Spreading Through Gay Community, and I thought nothing of it, yep, something else us gays need to watch out for. But then today and yesterday, there were post like UN Denounces ‘Homophobic and Racist’ Reporting on Monkeypox Spread.
“Experience shows that stigmatising rhetoric can quickly disable evidence-based response by stoking cycles of fear, driving people away from health services, impeding efforts to identify cases and encouraging ineffective, punitive measures.
Stigma and blame undermine trust and capacity to respond effectively during outbreaks like this one,” – UNAIDS deputy executive director, Matthew Kavanagh. – TheGuardian.com
UNAIDS said “a significant proportion” of recent Monkeypox cases have been identified among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, but transmission was most likely by close physical contact with a Monkeypox sufferer. This could be transmitted to anyone and should not be placed solely upon the shoulders of Gay, Bisexual men and Africans as it will reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes.
The World Health Organization backs up the UNAIDS statement by reiterating that many cases have been in people identifying as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, but that the virus spreads through close contact regardless of sexual orientation.
Okay … story is coming down … but wait .. there’s more. We may have contributed to the outbreak after all?
According to Spanish media, the celebration being investigated is the gay pride of the town Maspalomas held from 5 to 15 May in southern Gran Canaria. However, the island government’s Ministry of Health stated that only one of the two officially detected cases was in the said festival.
In one of his posts on the subject, he said that although it appears that most cases of monkeypox have been transmitted by direct contact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Warning of the possibility of transmission by air. It is recommended to ventilate indoors and wear face masks indoors to avoid possible infection. – SundayVision.co.ug
Una fiesta multitudinaria en la isla de Gran Canaria (entre 5 y el 15 de mayo) y a la que asistieron cerca de 80.000 personas, es el 2o foco del brote de viruela de mono en España. Ya se han confirmado 141 casos en el mundo (https://t.co/INtDjLyQcZ). pic.twitter.com/OfhaxTlVWE
— Alejandro Macias (@doctormacias) May 22, 2022
So if helping the spread of Monkeypox is just another story of something we gays have to own, like that Miami Circuit party which was one of the original COVID super spreader events, maybe even the origin of the super spreader label, or the big gay exodus from the US to go to New Years in Puerto Vallarta at the height of COVID, and then there was THAT weekend in Provincetown where it seemed the vaccine was truly tested, I guess we will do that. Own it.
We are a group of individuals that apparently come into closer contact than others when we get together. Swapping bodily fluids is the goal of many when they travel and there’s no judgment there. Not all of us have to do that to have a good time, but for those that do, go forth and be you.
We’ve reported on all of these events, there will be more in the future, and I am sure some one man specifically will try to sue us again for mentioning his participation in multiple super spreader events, (we’ll have to check his socials for Maspalomas footage). And things happen, especially when all precautions have been taken and even when they haven’t.
Do you think the reporting of the Monkeypox outbreak has been racists? homophobic? xenophobic? Or has it been just what it is – it just so happened that Monkeypox had an outbreak at a gay event. Do we need to change our behavior? Do we need to shun or shame those that “got close” during the celebration? No, we do not.
I had a friend that was in Maspalomas for the beginning of its Pride this year, he was also in Provincetown THAT weekend. We kind of just said, “Oh well” over text for what can you do? You cannot prepare for something that is going to come out of the unknown.
As a side note, when I was in Maspalomas back in 2009, our group was known as “The Americans.” We were constantly asked why we flew so far to the Canary Islands, just off the coast of Africa and part of Spain. “This is the playground of Europeans. French, English, German, not Americans.” It was all said in fun and we had fun with it and threw the ridicule back jokingly when “The Australians” showed up.
If you have a chance to go to Gran Canaria, to Maspalomas, the Yumbo Center, the beaches, the dunes, yes, it is a must go. But if you went just recently, let’s say this month, you better check yourself, but don’t wreck yourself. Just take care of yourself.