Queer people still considering dates and hook-ups despite strict coronavirus social distancing rules

Around two in 10 LGBT+ people would consider hooking-up with someone amid the coronavirus pandemic, but researchers suggest it's to fill a loss of intimacy more than anything. (Stock photo via Elements Envato)

Around two in 10 queer people would consider hooking-up with someone even as measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic includes strict social distancing.

The coronavirus pandemic has redefined day-to-day living for countless people as lockdowns and pleas to minimise contact with other people are enforced by world leaders.

While the virus’ death toll bears down on all, around 28 per cent of LGBT+ people would still consider going out on dates, according to a report published Tuesday by Queer Voices Heard.

Queer community ‘pessimistic’ about how coronavirus pandemic will impact them, researchers say.

Survey takers for the social enterprise group described the “genuine fear” the community feels about the viral outbreak, with 57 per cent of participants feeling their lives will be worse off in six months time as a result.

“COVID-19 poses a real threat to our physical health, mental health, the relationships that we have with others, and our way of life,” lead researcher Max Willson said, reiterating the fears of LGBT+ people.

Around 72 per cent reported being concerned about the coronavirus’ impact on their lives, with a third fearing the outbreak will have a negative impact on their physical health due to existing mental health conditions.

“This sense of pessimism about the future is consistent across all gender and sexual identities,” the report stated.

Three-quarters of LGBT+ support Pride events being cancelled, but yearn for alternatives. 

LGBT+ health authorities have echoed the government in urging queer people to practise social distancing, coming as countless Pride organisers cancel their parades, leaving summertime calendars barren.

Indeed, queer folk themselves overwhelmingly support such waves of cancellations, the findings suggest, as three quarters believe organisers were right to cancel or postpone.

Nevertheless, nearly one in four LGBT+ people would consider swinging by a queer event or social function in order to meet and see other people.

“At a time where the UK government continues to call for stringent social distancing and are exploring stronger ways to enforce this,” the report stated, “it’s clear more needs to be done to communicate the importance of social distancing measures to support the efforts of flattening the curve.”

Pride in London cancelled coronavirus

Pride in London parade in 2017 (Jack Taylor/Getty)

But it is this gap left in queer people lives that, researchers suggest, is leading to LGBT+ people to still consider going out and hooking-up.

Survey participants said that Pride organisers should offer alternative ways for the community to, even in the midst of the throws of the pandemic, still feel connected.

Online, televised or a series of streamed activities were suggested by participants.

Queer Voices Heard co-founder Stu Hosker said: “When mental health and social isolation already disproportionately affects our community than the general population, it’s vital that we listen to the voices in our community who are most vulnerable – physically, mentally, and socially – and address how we keep their best interests in mind during this unprecedented health emergency.”