June 16, 2021

COVID-19: Members of the LGBTQ + community even more isolated | The acronym LGBTQ +

A text byAudrey simon

This is the observation made by Elizabeth Johnson, resident of Powell River and member of a Facebook group of altersexual encounters in British Columbia. She says it is very difficult to meet people from the community queer since the start of the pandemic, especially in a city of less than 15,000 inhabitants.

I tried to get in touch with people in the community, but she’s very discreet, and then there aren’t really any events. queers, she laments.

Elizabeth Johnson, who lives in Powell River, met her current partner, who lives in Vancouver, through a dating group for queer people on Facebook.

Photo: Provided by Elizabeth Johnson

The 40-year-old adds that the community is large, but that it does not have safe spaces in which to organize events. Being online is the only way to meet people, says the Powell River resident.

World Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is marked on May 17, to commemorate the date when, in 1990, theWHO removed homosexuality from the mental illness registry. This day is usually marked with celebrations, marches and demonstrations all over the world, including British Columbia.

Social networks, a remedy for isolation

Transgender woman at the head of the dating group she created in 2017, Veronica Greer explains that she wanted to provide a safe space for LGBTQ + people in the province who wanted to meet outside of traditional dating apps.

I felt there was a need for a safe space because dating apps tend to be full of negative comments and homophobic or transphobic people. My group allows people to post photos and respectfully communicate with each other.

Veronica Greer poses for a selfie.

Veronica Greer is the founder of the Safe Dating Facebook Group for LGBTQ + people.

Photo: Provided by Veronica Greer

The trauma counseling therapist who has her own practice in Victoria says a small team of moderators helps maintain a healthy climate, while ensuring that only people from the community are accepted. We don’t have to worry about straight people harassing us , she says.

Since the health crisis, Ms. Greer observes that requests for additions have increased. In all, 200 people joined the group, which now numbers more than 500 members., she says proudly.

The COVID-19 edition of the survey Sex in the present tense , from the Community Research Center (CBRC) shows that 60% of respondents indicate that they feel less connected to their communities. We know that community and social connections are important factors that contribute to positive mental health in people. queers, notes Francesco MacAllister-Caruso, CBRC communications manager.

Sex in the present tense, is CBRC’s leading community-based research initiative and the largest Canadian men’s health survey GBT2Q.

Comparisons are made with data collected in previous editions of the annual survey.

The survey (external link) (New window) was done online and in person, in 15 cities across Canada, and in both official languages. The number of respondents was 6,200 in 2019 and 1,650 in 2020.

Deja vu for the LGBTQ + community

Community newspaper editor What’s on Queer BC, Sophia Kelly notices certain similarities of this health crisis with another crisis known to homosexual people.

I find there is an interesting parallel between the similar effects of the AIDS pandemic that our community experienced in the 1990s.

A quote from:Sophia Kelly, editor at the community newspaper What’s on Queer BC

The desire to stay healthy was often in conflict with other desires […] This new situation due to COVID-19 brings back memories of the dilemmas we had back then, and of all the friends and partners we lost, she writes in the columns of the community newspaper.

A meeting despite the health crisis

Elizabeth Johnson ended a relationship five months after the start of the pandemic. If, the first months, the fact of being alone gave her a nameless satisfaction, the return to reality was rather brutal. Crossing the threshold of his empty house was the click.

I took to the internet to find company and friends, and maybe an intimate, romantic relationship. I found even better , she said enthusiastically.

The 40-year-old came across the profile of a woman she had dated in her youth in 2003, and together, in January 2021, they decided to form a distant couple, with her partner living in Vancouver.

We still haven’t seen each other because of the pandemic because we respect the sanitary rules. Five months of relationship, and we still haven’t been physically together.