Discrimination, Racism Continues for Black LGBTQ People During Pandemic
There appears to be no pause on the racism and discrimination experienced by Black LGBTQ people during the coronavirus pandemic. Mizz June, a transgender New York City based singer and actress is sharing her health care experience upon testing positive for COVID-19.
June tells USA Today that she was coughing up blood and wheezing, her ribs hurt when she breathed and she had painful migraines.
But after she called 911, the emergency medical technicians told her she shouldn’t go to the emergency room unless she was really sick.
"I said I needed to go. I'm in pain. It hurts to breathe," she said. "They were like, you're just going to sit there. So do you want to, at 3 o'clock in the morning, go to this emergency room and just sit there?"
Mizz June pushed back. I can't breathe, she told them.
“They began questioning me, but I was so angered that I demanded to go to the hospital,” she said. “If I had not been the kind of woman that I am, a black transgender woman who has been through so much adversity, I would be dead.”
Mizz June said she contracted COVID-19 in mid-March and fears she may get it again. The symptoms initially left her with a dry cough and blood in her mucus. Then she felt constipated for a week.
“I had a mild case but still I was coughing up blood, wheezing and I could feel my lungs and ribs hurting when I breathed,” she said. “It’s just a disgusting virus.”
She said she was baffled by the claims from the first responders that she should avoid going to the emergency room because it was too crowded. Only three other patients were waiting when she arrived.
"They told me I could contract the disease if I went. How could I when there were only three people, I expected at least a full room of 100 coronavirus patients," she said.
She has recovered since her hospital stay, but is worried that other black transgender women might have the same experience where "symptoms weren't taken seriously." She's been encouraging other black trans women to get tested for the virus.
"I don't think people understand the seriousness of it," she said. "Whenever I go outside I put on gloves and a mask, I keep my distance because I've had it. I don't know if I can still pass it on to people but also I don't want to catch it again."
Writing on Facebook, Mizz June further expounded on her experience and what she believes is a lack of attention and care by health care workers for Black LGBTQ patients.
“Though it’s no surprise to us, very few black and brown folks are receiving adequate health care during this time," she wrote.
“While white/white passing folks are getting tested left and right whether they’re symptomatic or not… Very few Black and Brown ppl have advocates in the healthcare system who give a s**t about us.
“I believe this is ten times worse for Black and Brown trans women/femme queens/queer folks in this city (NYC).”
But out of her experience, June has decided to create a service designed specifically to support the LGBTQ communities of color during the pandemic.
“I’m setting up a service where I’m advocating for my people. Where Black and Brown folks will be alerted of and driven to testing sites nearby their neighbourhoods in the NYC metro area… I’m also planning on raising funds for drivers’ expenses and care packages for clients/those going to get tested (masks, toiletries, etc)… Only way we can get through this s**t is TOGETHER.”