Eric Sosa and Michael Zuco are the proprietors of the Brooklyn, New York, bar Good Judy. Photograph by Camille Petersen for NPR hide caption
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The proprietors of the Brooklyn, New York, bar Good Judy are Eric Sosa and Michael Zuco.
NPR’s Camille Petersen in New York The founders of the Brooklyn gay bars Good Judy and C’Mon Everybody, Eric Sosa and Michael Zuco, originally felt a familiar sensation when they first learned about monkeypox.
Again, here we are, Sosa remarked.
When they learned there was yet another infection to cope with, they were irate. But as people they knew and friends of friends began to contract the disease, they understood how vulnerable their group was.
How can we support the people in our community? Asked Sosa.
Close physical contact, particularly during sex, is the main method of monkeypox transmission. According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men currently make up the great majority of cases in the country.
Queer bar owners believe they are in a unique position to inform this community about the virus without contributing to the growing stigma towards LGBTQ people.
To find correct information regarding monkeypox, Sosa and Zuco had to first trawl through social media. Along with posting memes, ads for drag shows, and drink discounts on their bars’ social media pages, they also started attending town hall meetings and sharing what they learned about vaccine updates and important city contacts to raise concerns with.
Zuco admitted that he initially felt a little uneasy about the bar’s extensive use of public health promotion.
“Are individuals going to abruptly stop going out? due to their concern for their health? However, I believe that talking about it and dispelling anxiety is a really fantastic approach to do it “explained Zuco.
Zuco and Sosa wanted to do more to combat the monkeypox. They enquired about any connections their followers on social media may have to the city’s Department of Health (DOH). The DOH eventually got in touch with me regarding a pilot project.
The program dispatches health professionals to public places like bars to arrange clients for otherwise difficult to locate vaccination appointments. One Brooklyn location, C’Mon Everybody, was selected for the program’s initial phase.
Zuco revealed, “I’m also a licensed nurse. “So for me, seeing one of our bars being used in a public health function was incredibly satisfying.”
Julian Diaz, a bartender at Good Judy, claimed that due to his employer’s pro-active response to monkeypox, he was aware of how to schedule a vaccination appointment and take precautions. He is pleased to be employed by a facility that is battling monkeypox.
“I firmly believe that we performed admirably. and contributed to the community, “Added Diaz.
Bartender Julian Diaz from Good Judy in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Camille Petersen for NPR hide caption
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Bartender Julian Diaz works at Good Judy in Brooklyn, New York.
NPR’s Camille Petersen Bar owner Mark Liberson in Chicago claimed that because of how attentively he has been following the monkeypox outbreak, his staff turns to him for information on the disease.
“I’m a mother who is by nature Jewish. So I’ll jump in, start making calls, and try to find out how to schedule people for appointments “said he.
In collaboration with the city’s health division, Liberson produced a movie and poster on monkeypox. He presented the film at one of his nightclubs, Hydrate, the weekend of an LGBTQ festival called Market Days.
He requested that other bars share the resources as well. Liberson recalls how the AIDS issue was handled and asserts that he has a duty to defend his neighborhood.
“We must acknowledge that there are others in our community who don’t care about us. There are others who are hostile to us in reality. It’s crucial that we look after one another, just like we did then “added Liberson.
Liberson persuaded an auto business close to one of his clubs to assist him in hosting a sizable vaccination clinic during the COVID-19 outbreak. He expressed the expectation that monkeypox vaccination campaigns could soon allow for the daily vaccination of hundreds of people at a single place.