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    LGBTQ Events Impacted by the Coronavirus Outbreak

    LGBTQ local, national, and international events are among those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. In San Francisco, the Lesbians Who Tech Summit—originally set for April 23–25—has been rescheduled for August 6–8. The New Conservatory Theatre Center, which champions LGBTQ and allied theatrical works, is closed until March 20. The premiere of The Book of Mountains and Seas was canceled. Some of the final performances of Michael Tilson Thomas as renowned conductor of the San Francisco Symphony have also been affected. The Symphony is closed until March 20.

    The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) was set to have its Annual Global Convention in Milan this year, May 6–9, but the event has been postponed. The IGLTA Staff and Board of Directors issued a statement that read, in part: “There are no more resilient, intrepid and confident travel leaders anywhere in the world than in the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association. Therefore, we are determined to host our Annual Global Convention in 2020 in Milan. At the same time, we must be prudent and sensitive to health and safety precautions and to the actual conditions on the ground. We have decided to postpone our convention in Milan until this September/October.”

    It continued, “We believe firmly in the resilience of travel and want to be part of the industry’s recovery when COVID19 has been contained with confidence. We must, however, give all our participants and leaders time to prepare. The outbreak of the coronavirus has left all of us with many unknowns.”

    Some of those unknowns include:

    • how the virus originated (numerous scientists suspect that smuggling of endangered animals used in folkloric Asian medicines played a role);
    • all of the modes of transmission, including indirect methods such as via insect vectors (mosquitoes, ticks, etc.);
    • the precise mortality rate;
    • how best to treat COVID-19;
    • and more.

    As of this writing, all non-essential large gatherings have been banned in city-owned buildings in San Francisco. The order, effective until March 20, was issued by the SF Department of Public Health on Saturday, March 7.

    Published on March 11, 2020


    About Our Cover

    The elbow bump greeting, ubiquitous during this SARS-CoV-2 pandemic time, has a long and rich history not always tied to worries over the spread of illness. When former president Barack Obama bumped elbows with two General Services Administration workers in 2012, as shown on our cover, he had just put on hand sanitizer and did not want to get it all over the two women.

    Public personalities, from presidents to royalty to music stars, have long been frequent users of hand sanitizer, given all of the hand shaking that they usually must do. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has been sporting gloves more often these days, likely for similar reasons.

    Elbow bumping is also a derivative of the fist bump. Basketball pros have been seen doing this move since the 1980s. It is quick and relatively easy, freeing up the hands. It also lacks the formality required of a typical handshake.

    As for illness outbreaks, elbow bumping became more commonplace during the 2006 avian flu pandemic, the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the 2012–2013 influenza epidemic, and during the outbreak of Ebola of 2014. As World Health Organization officials informed The New York Times over a decade ago, the elbow bump is one way of “keeping other people’s cooties at arm’s length.”