Last month, shortly after the OutSmart team began working on our annual food and drink issue, a slew of city events—from concerts, to conferences, to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo—were canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As you will recall, these announcements were unnerving. At first, the CDC and government officials cautioned that any events with crowds over 250 should be called off. As the days went by, these numbers got smaller. “No more than 50,” they warned. “No more than 10.”
Meanwhile, the Trump administration botched their response to the crisis, calling the disease “a hoax.” Being his blatantly racist self, President Trump dubbed COVID-19 “the Chinese virus,” adding fuel to the nation’s ongoing discrimination against Asian-Americans.
Fortunately, our local officials got to work. One after another, counties across the nation began going on lockdown to contain the virus’ spread. And just as we had anticipated, on March 24, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a stay-at-home order requiring most businesses to close and directing residents not to leave their homes unless it was essential.
By this point, it was evident that OutSmart’s original April coverage needed to shift so that we could share the stories of those who have been directly impacted by COVID-19. After all, it is our job to accurately report the state of Houston’s LGBTQ community.
Because this crisis has also forced us to limit the size and distribution of OutSmart’s print edition, we encourage you to visit OutSmartMagazine.com to read our frequently updated news coverage and additional in-depth feature stories.
As OutSmart’s publisher for the past 27 years, I have witnessed first-hand the difficult times that our community has endured. However, we have always come together as proud Houstonians to make things work. From healthcare workers, to maintenance crews, to our LGBTQ activists who have shifted to digital platforms—we see you, and we thank you for keeping us all afloat.
This is the time of year when so many worthy nonprofit groups look to our community to raise funds that help them operate through the entire year. Since most, if not all, of those spring fundraisers have been canceled, we ask that you please don’t forget to support these charities that need your help now more than ever.
We also ask you to continue supporting OutSmart’s family of advertisers—businesses that share your values for creating a world with LGBTQ equality. It is these advertisers who make it possible for us to put out this magazine, both in print and online. We are all in this together!
I’d also like to applaud our staff and contributing writers who have done a wonderful job in adapting to these new circumstances. This talented, selfless group of folks understands that now, more than ever, is the time to create meaningful journalism. And if you have a story idea that you’d like to share, I encourage you to help our reporting by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going forward, let’s each do our part to “flatten the curve.” Practice social distancing, stay home, wash your hands, and be safe!