The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network has made the difficult decision to shift all aspects of the event to virtual and cancel the in-person component of our 2022 Convening, planned to take place at The W Hollywood on August 29th and August 30th. This is due to the unforeseen public health emergencies declared by local, state, and federal entities.
On August 1, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency for California due to the Monkeypox outbreak. This was followed by Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles declaring a Local State of Emergency on August 2, 2022, and President Biden’s administration declaring a Federal State of Emergency on August 4, 2022. Of additional concern, Monkeypox is disproportionately impacting members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have seen much higher rates of infection. According to the California Department of Public Health’s most recent Monkeypox update, “At this time, gay, bisexual, and other [men who have sex with men] are most impacted by this outbreak.” Given the target attendees of this event, it is currently unsafe for us to hold a gathering with large numbers of LGBTQ+ individuals.
The W Hollywood Hotel currently resides within Los Angeles County, where there is the highest diagnosis rate of Monkeypox in California to-date. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Declaration of Emergency on August 2nd, California is experiencing nearly 800 confirmed cases of Monkeypox from the 5,800 probable cases in the United States. Over 250 of those 800 cases have been identified within the Hollywood area where The W Hotel resides. Since the outbreak of the virus, the number of cases have continued to rise, as well as the health concerns of our LGBTQ+ community and the number of States of Emergency.
As an LGBTQ+ health advocacy organization, it would be unethical and unsafe for us to ignore the rising concerns of this situation. We must put the health of our partners and community as our top priority. Many of our attendees are at the forefront of serving members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have been the most affected by this outbreak. Shifting the Convening to a virtual setting will allow community members to attend the workshops and panels without compromising anyone’s health from attending in-person.
The Rainbow Connection and General Session of the Convening will now take place on August 30th from 9 A.M. – 4 P.M. In an effort to make the virtual event just as engaging as our intended in-person event, we will be providing community-building activities for attendees to connect with each other, provide a virtual wellness room to decompress, dedicate breaks throughout the day (we know Zoom fatigue is real), and a virtual resource fair. Recordings of the workshops and panels will also be made available to all registered attendees if they cannot make it to the live sessions.
Lastly, due to this last-minute change, we are no longer charging a registration fee and the Convening will be free to attend. If you have already purchased an in-person or a virtual event ticket, we will be working to provide a refund within the next week. We appreciate your patience as we make this transition. If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Network Team