Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



LGBTQ+ Latinx healthcare providers discuss impact of COVID-19 pandemic
by Kayleigh Padar

This article shared 1124 times since Fri Oct 29, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

As part of its COVID-19 Grand Rounds series, AIDS Foundation Chicago hosted an Oct. 26 panel featuring LGBTQ+ Latinx healthcare providers sharing how the pandemic has impacted their personal and professional lives.

Panelists included Howard Brown Health President/CEO David Munar, Esperanza Health Centers community health advocate Luis Lira and Erie Family Health Center community health nurse Monica Ortiz. Each spoke about how COVID-19 fundamentally changed his or her life. Some survived the virus themselves while treating Latinx patients who were also infected.

The Latinx community has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The Chicago Department of Public Health reports Latinx people make up 35% of the city's COVID-19 cases and 32% of deaths while representing only 28% of the population.

This disparity is one reason why sharing the stories of Latinx healthcare providers is important, Munar said.

"The big message here is that as a community, Latinx people have the lowest rates of insurance of any racial or ethnic group and have some of the highest health disparities," Munar said. "We're categorically more vulnerable to issues like COVID and we see it in the numbers."

Munar said he "immediately" saw the virus' "enormous impact on the Latinx community." Munar witnessed LGBTQ+ Latinx people facing insurmountable debt without support systems after surviving COVID-19.

"We saw people in line, sick and suspecting they had COVID, and they were more concerned about losing their job than about COVID," Munar said. "The enormous impact of the virus really was cross currents with immigration, lack of insurance, poverty, overcrowded housing. All of these things we talk about in terms of healthcare equity converged in a predictable way around the pandemic."

Ortiz spoke about how, after just three weeks of working as a nurse in an assisted living facility in March 2020, she caught COVID-19 and was out for three weeks. When she returned to the facility, she said it was an environment she'd never experienced, and she faced increased anxiety while managing severely ill patients.

"As nurses, we're caregivers, but we really were these patients' families," Ortiz said. "They were not able to see their families. We were the last people they would see when they passed. That was a really hard reality, but on the other hand, it gave me a lot of gratification knowing that I was where I was supposed to be."

Lira was also infected with COVID-19 early in the pandemic. He explained how drastically it impacted his life, forcing him to take a leave from work that caused financial stress. His recovery was long. For some time, he couldn't speak and didn't know if he would again.

Lira urged healthcare workers to be aware of how they treat their LGBTQ patients and consider putting their staff through yearly sensitivity training. He explained that, while he was in the hospital battling COVID-19, his doctors would frequently ask if he wanted to confer with his wife instead of acknowledging he has a husband.

"A lot of people have a hard time adjusting to people referring to people with their different pronouns or different partners, but something as simple as that allows people to feel more welcome and access healthcare in a more humane way," Lira said.

Munar emphasized the importance of helping LGBTQ people navigate the complex healthcare system since they might not have family support.

"As LGBTQ people of color, we're more susceptible to institutional harm," Munar said. "If you have a friend, spouse, ally or advocate communicating with doctors on your behalf, that makes a huge difference."

Now that the healthcare system is more equipped to manage COVID-19 than it was in the early days of the pandemic, Ortiz stressed the importance of addressing the larger systemic issues plaguing Latinx people trying to access healthcare even before the pandemic.

"We still need to go to the doctor frequently, we still need more specialists and it's still really hard to get those types of resources," Ortiz said.

Although the medical community has more information about COVID-19, Lira said he's still struggling to help Latinx people get accurate information about vaccines. He said he's heard from lots of Latinx people who are suspicious of institutions they've come to distrust pushing vaccination so heavily.

"There's still that fear and distrust of the healthcare community Latinos have, and some of them aren't getting vaccinated," Lira said. "We've had to lay people off at Esperanza because they refuse to get vaccinated."

Project VIDA and AIDS Foundation of Chicago are launching the VIDA task force, which is designed to address healthcare disparities for LGBTQ+ people of color. The task force is seeking members—specifically community leaders who address issues facing the Latinx community —to attend monthly meetings with the goal of assessing and improving the community's access to healthcare.

For more information, visit .

This article shared 1124 times since Fri Oct 29, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

COVID All states still on Chicago's travel advisory 2022-01-26
- The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) did not add or remove any states or territories from its COVID-19 travel advisory on Jan. 25. For the fourth consecutive week, every U.S. state and four territories are ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT: FDA must lift discriminatory blood-donor policy 2022-01-26
- With the nation's blood supply at its lowest point in a decade, and the American Red Cross declaring its first-ever national blood crisis earlier this month, it is time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ...

Gay News

Abortion Rights Panel marks 49th anniversary with demand to defend historic Roe v Wade 2022-01-21
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — To commemorate the 49th anniversary of Roe v Wade, a diverse national panel of speakers will demand that the U.S. Supreme Court uphold Roe, defending 50 years of legal abortion, and that supporters mobilize ...

Gay News

COVID Chicago's top doctor 'hopeful' vaccine mandate will end by spring 2022-01-21
- Chicago's top physician is "hopeful" that Chicago's vaccination requirement for indoor dining and other public areas will be removed once the city's COVID-19 spread declines significantly, The Chicago Tribune noted. ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Illinois Action launches virtual Black Community Town Hall Series in February 2022-01-20
-- From a press release - CHICAGO - Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) proudly announces a new Black Community Town Hall series in honor of Black History Month. The series of virtual discussions will tackle topics such as community wellness and care, ...

Gay News

'Jane's Army' to recruit, deploy pro-choice volunteers 2022-01-20
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL — Personal PAC, Men4Choice, and Future Voices Council have launched Jane's Army — a joint campaign to recruit activist volunteers to educate, motivate, and activate pro-choice voters ahead of the critical 2022 election. This ...

Gay News

Gilead: Patients received fake HIV drugs 2022-01-20
- Gilead Sciences Inc said an unauthorized network of drug distributors and suppliers sold pharmacies more than $250 million of counterfeit versions of its HIV treatments over the last two years, endangering patients, Reuters reported. The drugmaker ...

Gay News

COVID Mayor Lightfoot ends isolation 2022-01-18
- Five days after testing positive for COVID-19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is out of isolation, per CBS Chicago. "Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and sent their well wishes. I am ...

Gay News

LaVine injured in Bulls' blowout loss to Golden State 2022-01-15
- The Chicago Bulls (27-13) haven't been together as an entire team in a while because of injuries and COVID-19 health protocols. According to The Chicago Tribune, the latest injury occurred roughly 3� minutes into the Jan. ...

Gay News

Veterans Administration health records now display gender identity 2022-01-14
-- Press release from The American Veterans for Equal Rights - WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs began including gender identifiers in its national medical record system in December 2021 to help VA providers better understand and meet the health care needs of Veterans. Providing this ...

Gay News

French gay and bisexual men can donate blood starting March 16 2022-01-13
- Starting in March, gay and bisexual French men will no longer be restricted from donating blood, The Hill reported. "We are ending an inequality that was no longer justified," French Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier ...

Gay News

Global reports show pervasiveness of conversion therapy info 2022-01-12
- Two reports released from the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) expose how tech companies have failed to de-platform anti-LGBTQ+ conversion therapy disinformation and ban providers pushing the discredited ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted states COVID requirements and is offering free testing [UPDATE] 2022-01-11
- Center on Halsted, in compliance with the City of Chicago public health order effective Jan. 3, requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for anyone (ages 5 and older) gathering in its ground-floor lobby area. Other events and ...

Gay News

COVID Chicago travel advisory remains unchanged 2022-01-11
- Chicago's COVID travel advisory remains the same. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) did not add or remove any states or territories from its COVID-19 Travel Advisory on Jan. 11. For the second consecutive week, ...

Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot tests positive for COVID-19 2022-01-11
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she's tested positive for COVID-19. On Jan. 11, she issued a statement saying, "Earlier today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine which ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.