OUTMemphis, like much of the Mid-South, is at a crossroads. As many of you know, we have not fully opened our flagship building or in-person group gatherings since the very first shut down in March 2020. Walk-ins and group support at the Youth Emergency Center switched to appointment only after just two months of operation.
Of all the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most poignant in our region is the low numbers of vaccinated individuals. I’m writing you today to vehemently urge you to get vaccinated: if you have already, I’m asking you to assist and implore your peers who haven’t.
It’s simple: our community needs the resources that OUTMemphis has, and we are so limited in providing them based on the unvaccinated numbers around us.
LGBTQ+ people are public health activists by birth. Our legacy tells us health and safety should be free, accessible, and lifted up for communities most excluded from resources overall. The vaccine is the kind of radically available resource that has long been out of reach for LGBTQ+ people. Why is HIV so prevalent in the South today? Because of access and stigma. For once, access is easy. Don’t let stigma continue to kill your neighbors and friends.
Our community is dying from the same social determinants of health we have worked with for years.
Our role as community leaders — and your role as a member of this vital, vibrant, complicated community, is to push through anxieties to the data-driven truth. This is what we did with AIDS, what we did with PrEP, what we have done with trans healthcare, and what we must do with the COVID-19 vaccine.
We have only to look upon our history, our Mission, and our Organizational Values, to understand our obligation. Don’t delay these difficult conversations. Don’t delay a resource that could save your life.
Molly Rose Quinn
NOTE: Moving forward, proof of vaccination and/or proof of negative tests will be required for certain services, personnel, and programs, as we begin to reopen some programs. If you previously attended in-person groups at OUTMemphis and are looking for updates, reach out at [email protected]