Book Review:  Crisis and Care: Queer Activist Responses to A Global Pandemic

There are several books being published about the COVID-19 pandemic.  Very few, if any, will say anything about the experiences of LGBTQ people.   Crises and Care is unique in not only in its focus on LGBTQ people, but it’s written for a general audience.   Within it are stories about individual and organizational resilience to the pandemic and the issues that developed in its wake.  This is not an academic book or written specifically for an academic audience, but as a professor I can see having my students read various chapters to illustrate community actions during the pandemic.

The authors of the chapters come from various backgrounds.  There are community advocates, executive directors, health care providers, professors, and lawyers represented in the book.  There is some diversity based on race and ethnicity and sexual and gender identities, but it’s also a short book. 

What is great about this book is that it highlights how LGBT people and organizations responded to the pandemic and the lockdowns needed to stem infection.  Adrian Shanker and Denise Spivak talk about how communities and community centers experienced the pandemic, highlighting the resilience of LGBTQ people but also showcasing the problems they experience.  There are many essays from people discussing their own response to the pandemic highlighting the positives and negatives that occurred in their lives.  I personally found Kenyon Farrow’s essay on fighting medical mistrust among Black communities.  I’ll want to use this in my classes when we discuss the relationships between public health professionals and the communities they serve. 

I was excited for the publication of this book as there is generally a lack of any material discussing LGBTQ pandemic response or public health preparedness in general.  One disappointment is that it is so short.  And while some of the authors are trans, there wasn’t a chapter that was specific to trans lives.  However, even if the book were three times as long it would still fall short of representing the diversity of experiences and issues of LGBTQ people. 

I strongly recommend this book for people interested in understanding the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on LGBTQ people.  This isn’t a book oriented to academics or other professionals but is written for a wider audience and could be a useful teaching tool for undergraduate and graduate classes. 

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