Shots and Shutdown

By |2021-03-03T13:33:01-05:00March 3rd, 2021|Opinions, Parting Glances|

I received my first COVID-19 vaccination shot last week. My second right-arm shot is scheduled for March 11. Among 300 seniors inoculated in a well-coordinated system at Dearborn’s Henry Ford Village, I was number 13. That’s the benefit, if indeed it’s that, to being blessed with a last name beginning with A.
For those given to worrying about numerological superstitions, among the French and Spanish and the ancient Egyptians, the number 13 is considered a good luck number. In passing, let me say that the pharmacist sitting at table 13, who neatly gave me my shot, was pleasant to look at and briefly to chat with.
That same day I received a concerned call from an old friend Marc Channing, who I’ve known since he was in his early 20s. Marc, now 50-something, or, other, is living and struggling financially in Manhattan.
Marc said he hadn’t heard from me in a while and wanted to know how I was doing. It turns out that he needed to vent his concerns about how the traditionally LGBTQ+ Mecca has changed and, in his opinion, not for the better. That was due to gay bars and restaurants closing, with Broadway theater performance closures and with high rent expectations to be met.
He spoke with a certain glee about the — one can only hope — trials and well-deserved tribulations of former President Donald Trump.
In weeks earlier telephone chats with Marc, who is a highly respected men’s fashion commentator and trend-setter, he mentioned that he had met Donald on two occasions. He said that in his opinion, the White House was “very gay” with all the hairdressers, dress designers and make-up artists attending to Melania’s every wish and whim.
Marc, by the way, is earning his keep by grocery shopping with iPhone in hand at $50 a trip. And designing fashion lamps for aesthetic furniture enhancement and sale. Good luck, Marc Channing!
Back to my COVID-19 shot. One might think of it as an exclamation point to an ordeal that has changed our LGBT+ lives dramatically. Emphatically. Exhaustingly. It’s certainly been challenging to our rainbow community. Need we be reminded that it will be a year this March 2021 that we have had to deal with the pandemic, the Donald Trump GOP machinations, the alarming assault and storming of our capital, our failures to face up to crimes perpetrated seemingly again and again on the Black community?
The watchword for this past year has been social distancing. Practice it! Wear a mask. Stay six feet apart. Connect by virtual Zooming!
Out of sight. Out of mind. But hope for the good, better, best!
We do need to remind ourselves that protective social distancing has come at a price well worth keeping in mind for our rainbow community.
In city after city, our social gathering places have been shut down. Cellphones have replaced face-to-face, living, breathing contact. Our isolation has resulted in unintentional forgetting of once familiar friends, their names, their shared interests, their goals and achievements in our collective struggle. When was the last time you gave someone a much-needed hug?
Simply put: A pandemic year later, we need to be on our collective guard. Our LGBTQ+ community is on lockdown. Challenge yourself to see to it that we are not to be taken advantage of, politically, religiously or socially. And! Do get your COVID-19 shot. Even if your name starts with a Z (as in Zoom).

About the Author:

Charles Alexander