LGBTQ folks, COVID-19 and PGN

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What a time to be in the business of news. When COVID-19 is researched years from now, it is the stories published today that will become historical record. Here, at PGN, we want to ensure that the voices of our community are not left out. Statistically, LGBTQ folks are at a higher risk. Our community uses tobacco at a rate 50% higher than our cishet peers. We also have higher rates of cancer and HIV, meaning many in our community are immunocompromised. Though, with HIV, a person is only at higher risk if their CD4 T-cell counts are low or if they have concomitant health conditions. On top of this information, data from the Center for American Progress found that 18.4 percent of LGBTQ+ folks reported avoiding doctor’s offices to avoid discrimination. Further, 29% of transgender people said a health care provider refused to see them because of their actual or perceived gender identity. Due to the incompetence many folks in our community have dealt with in the medical field, we are less likely to seek medical attention. And, the LGBTQ community also suffers from higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.  The 2015 U.S. Transgender survey showed that 40% of trans individuals report that they had considered suicide in the previous 12 months, compared to 4% of the overall population. SAMHSA reported that LGB adults are more than twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to experience a mental health condition. All of this means that disseminating accurate news to queer folks is essential during this time. We will be here for you each week to deliver the news you need, while also celebrating the succeses in our community. Nonprofits, LGBTQ-owned businesses and grassroots organizers are investing in our well-being. We also have community members in key positions in government. I participate in a daily Zoom conference with several LGBTQ folks who are fighting daily for those most financially and medically affected by COVID-19. Now more than ever, PGN is both a community newspaper and resource. We feel very intensely our responsibility during this time.