Coronavirus Update From New York City: December 17, 2020

Currently, many of us here in the northeastern region of the United States are in the process of digging out from a major snowstorm. I hope that all of my readers who were hit by the storm are warm and safe.

Everyone in my family is continuing to avoid the coronavirus, but it is getting more and more nervy as zip codes around us are seeing concerning rises in positivity rates. To add insult to injury (in terms of being on edge with COVID) is the fact that my parents in particular have seen a few places in our neighborhood where people are not wearing their masks and practicing social distancing as they should. I know I’m a broken record in saying this, but please wear your mask and practice social distancing! Also, when you wear your mask, wear it over your mouth and your nose, like the person in the photo below.

The person in the photo is me, by the way.

It’s not just my family who’s getting nervous about COVID, either. New York City is also getting nervous, as evidenced by a shutdown of outdoor dining that started last Monday, as well as noises of a more complete shutdown after the holidays (as to why we’re waiting for the holidays to do this if the situation is that serious, I’m not quite sure). The nervousness is understandable–with stories across the country of hospitals being overwhelmed, the fact that hospitalization and ICU rates are on the increase at a time when we don’t have a ton of hospital and ICU beds available to begin with in New York City is a cause for nervousness.[1]

At this time that many hospitals are being stretched thin due to this pandemic, I offer a simple plea: please listen to guidance from your public health officials about holiday gatherings, even if it means staying home. I know, understand, and appreciate that it is tough to not visit family you desperately want to visit–I know that because I desperately want to visit my mom’s parents too. However, a visit to them, even if it were allowed by their senior living community (which it is not), could potentially put them at severe risk because of their age and the condition they are in. Many of us here in the states could put our relatives in similar potential peril if we visited them. As much as we may love our relatives, the best way to love them may be to stay home and minimize the chances of relatives getting the virus.

My warning aside, I do wish everyone a good, healthy, and safe holiday season. Let’s care for each other and love each other at this time by doing all we can to keep each other healthy.

My last post for this calendar year will be on December 28th. That post will function as a combination of a COVID update post and an end-of-year wrap-up post for this blog.


[1] https://projects.thecity.nyc/2020_03_covid-19-tracker/?_ga=2.239467267.1478419328.1608083101-1077310081.1606063751

Stereotypes Associated with People with Same-Sex Relationships

As I said a few weeks ago, I will be doing a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.

However, before going into stereotypes associated with being lesbian, gay, or bisexual, I feel that I should address stereotypes associated with same-sex attraction that I’ve heard from LGBTQ+ friends, writers, celebrities, and others; as all three identities can (in the case of being bisexual) or do (in the case of being lesbian or gay) involve same-sex attraction and feelings, I felt that it was important to address stereotypes associated with people in same-sex relationships in general.

Stereotypes related to same-sex attraction and relationships include, but are not limited, to:

  1. The thought that people who are in same-sex relationships are living out the “homosexual lifestyle.” Yes, people with same-sex relationships are indeed homosexual, just as people attracted to the opposite sex are heterosexual. But people with same-sex relationships aren’t living the “homosexual lifestyle” any more than people in opposite-sex relationships are living the “heterosexual lifestyle.” And yet, the term homosexual lifestyle is used in a negative way and as if it’s a choice that could be easily opted out of.
  2. People with same-sex relationships can’t be Christian. This stereotype, I think, is the result of two things: a) the belief among some Christians that homosexuality is a sin worthy of kicking people out of a congregation and b) the fact that this attitude of rejection pushes many people in same-sex relationships away from a belief in Christ (or at least away from church attendance). The reality, however, is that a Christian is a believer in Christ as Messiah, and is someone who tries to follow Christ in all one is and all one does. Those two requirements for being a Christian are not limited to people who identify as heterosexual.
  3. Same-sex couples “destroy the fabric of families.” This statement begs the question of what makes up the fabric of a family in the first place. Is that fabric a heterosexual couple, or is it something else? Speaking from the experience of being in a loving family, what makes the fabric of families is love, not heterosexuality.

These, of course, are just a few of many unjust stereotypes associated with people in same-sex relationships. If any readers are aware of other stereotypes about same-sex relationships/people with same-sex attraction, or have anything to add about the stereotypes I have discussed above, please feel free to comment below!

Hafuboti [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

On So-Called Slacktivism

Many of my readers have probably heard the term “slacktivism” by now—a term used to characterize “the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.”[1] We will probably hear that term even more leading up to elections in November as some of us shame others of us for being “slacktivists.”

That being said, I am going to do something here that may ignite some controversy. I am coming to the defense of so-called slacktivists—some of them.

But why?

The short answer is that there are many people who don’t have the time or ability to do anything more than sign an online petition or do other online activism, and that should be respected instead of degraded.

A longer answer must explore life circumstances that result in someone not being able to do more than what many activists call slacktivism:

  1. Professional responsibilities. I have heard about my fair share of midday rallies and protests (and have even been at a few of them). The only problem is that such rallies can’t be attended even by someone who works a normal 9-5 job, unless that person lives in the area of the rally and is able to take a lunch break during the rally. Evenings and weekends give better access to rallies for regular 9-5 workers, but there are still many people who work weekends and/or evenings instead of, or in addition to, 9-5 work. For people who are at work while rallies and protests happen, the most they can do is what’s labeled as slacktivism, and that should be respected.
  2. Family responsibilities. Parents have to take care of their children and other family. Grownups have to make sure that all the utility bills are paid for their houses, or that rent is paid for their apartments. These responsibilities exist in addition to, not instead of, professional responsibilities. Some rallies have tried to take away the burden of parents taking care of children by including childcare at rallies (though I’m sure some parents would feel uneasy about the thought of leaving their child or children in the hands of complete strangers, and I might feel the same way when/if I become a parent). Once one combines professional responsibilities with family responsibilities, then there may be little time to do more than so-called slacktivism, and that fact shouldn’t be demonized.
  3. Physical limitations. Some people are flat-out physically unable to get to, or participate in, a rally or protest. Back when I had my bad ankle earlier this year, I was one of those people. I know many others who, like me during my bad ankle, would’ve been completely unable to participate in rallies and protests even if we wanted to. Sometimes, slacktivism is the most that some of our bodies can handle.
  4. Emotional limitations. There are some rallies that may be emotionally just too much for people. For example, a rally protesting gun violence may be too much for some family or friends of people who’ve been victimized by gun violence. The emotional limitations that bring people towards slacktivism, and away from what many activists view as activism, should be respected.

I acknowledge that there are, no doubt, many people who are capable of more than the signing of online petitions and involvement of online movements that is often associated with slacktivism. Such people who are capable of higher levels of involvement should be more involved. However, I hope that my list brings to mind the fact that there are probably millions of people in the United States who are unable to do anything more than what is labeled as slacktivism. Those people should not be demonized for what they’re unable to do, but thanked for what they are able to do.


[1] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/slacktivism