Andy Cohen Speaks Out against Anti-Gay Monkeypox Stigma

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday August 5, 2022
Originally published on August 3, 2022

Andy Cohen
Andy Cohen  (Source:Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Some will want to weaponize the monkeypox outbreak to further stigmatize gay and bisexual men. Andy Cohen says: Don't do it.

"I call on everyone in the government and the media to not stigmatize our community, which is already under attack from many who'd rather use us as a scapegoat than help us," Cohen declared on Aug. 1 while taping his talk show "Watch What Happens Live," the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Cohen shared his thoughts" about the global health crisis, "which the World Health Organization recently declared a 'public health emergency of international concern'" during the show's taping, the article said.

Chiding the federal government for "an abysmal response" to the outbreak, Cohen noted that New York City Mayor Eric Adams had "issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency," which Cohen hoped would "help our leaders actually deal with this threat and pressure the federal government to deploy badly needed resources like vaccines, which have been very hard to come by."

More than two years of COVID-19 may have left people with "fatigue" around taking precautions against contagious afflictions, but Cohen urged his "gay brothers" to keep their guard up, noting that "This [monkeypox] is affecting us [men who have sex with men] at much higher rates than others right now, so be aware, get vaccinated if you can, and... please be safe and don't take unnecessary risks."

That's good advice for everyone, regardless of sexuality, the LA Times noted, pointing out that "health officials warn that anyone can contract the virus through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or body fluids, as well as by touching clothing and bedding used by someone with the illness."

Cohen underscored that point, telling viewers that "if you're not a gay man, you might think this doesn't affect you now, but this is everyone's problem. Because as we've learned from very recent history, unless we act now, these things can get a whole lot worse very quickly."

The LA Times noted that the highly contagious disease is "similar to smallpox — though usually milder — with symptoms including fever, aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue and a rash."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.