Gay men who are out  partying in breach of COVID-19 restrictions are being publicly shamed on social media. Those targeted for public ridicule include a popular Drag Race star, executives and frontline health workers.

Since December 2019, when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, the global pandemic has led to over 85 million cases globally and around 1.84 million deaths. The United States leads with over 20 million cases and over 352,000 deaths. Over the Christmas and New Year holidays however, gay men headed to popular beachside towns to have large circuit parties, even posting their photos on social media.

Circuit Parties Busted

That is when an anonymous social media account on Instagram, Gaysovercovid, started reposting the photos of the gay men throwing caution to the wind in the middle of a raging pandemic in the circuit parties. In a matter of days, the account garnered around 100,000 followers.

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 Gaysovercovid invited both support and condemnation. Some criticised the gay men who were out partying in breach of public health regulations, while others slammed the forced outing. One person even offered a bounty of $500 for information on the identity of the person/s behind the Gaysovercovid social media account.

A White Party & ‘Titanic’ Sinking

The one event that invited the most coverage was the White Party at the popular gay seaside destination of  Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. The events page on Eventbrite read: “Ring in the New Year at White Party Puerto Vallarta – UNITY where restaurants, gyms, bars and clubs are open and ready to welcome you to the ultimate New Years weekend getaway!!!”

The description was in contrast to actual regulations in the Mexico (though not in state of Nayarit where the White Party was relocated to after authorities shut down the previous venues) that was enforcing strict COVID-19 restrictions and capping public gatherings.

That did not stop the event from going ahead or gay men congregating without following social distancing regulations. As photos got posted on individual accounts, Gaysovercovid reposted them for the general public. The anti-climax for the White Party goers was when a boat with 60 gay revellers capsized. The party on the boat cruise had charged between $120-150 as entry fees for the gay cruise.

“2021 off to a good start,” Gaysovercovid reposted a video of the “Titanic” sinking on Twitter. Thankfully, there were no casualties.

 

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 Social media got on the act with users calling out “Corona Fests” in other cities. After photos of one such gay circuit event ‘Festa Revolution’ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were posted online, police and firefighters arrived to shut it down.

Gaysovercovid called out another party in Houston, “Last night in Houston, thousands of gays gathered to put others’ lives at risk. And for what? A shitty remix of The Shallow“.

Health Workers Party

Private parties organised by gay men also started popping up on social media feeds. “As your loved ones die of COVID, as your friends lay alone in the hospital unable to have visitors because of the pandemic, as you wait for a hospital bed because there aren’t any, remember that (name withheld) partied the whole time knowing he helped spread,” a drag performer from New York posted a video from a private party.

Those shamed included frontline and health workers and many could not stop from commenting on the irony of them partying without following social distancing regulations to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus. One of the most prominent face was an ophthalmologist, who had been photographed receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a military hospital in Mexico city. Days later, he posted photos of himself partying it up in Puerto Vallarta.

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 Another high profile attendee was a San Francisco nurse, who made news when he posted about how a COVID-19 infection had ravaged his body. Mike Schulz, the 43-year-old nurse, is believed to have contracted COVID-19 after attending a circuit party in Miami in May. On New Year’s Eve he was back attending another circuit party in Puerto Vallarta. A Drag Race performer at the same party took down photos from their social media after being panned by others.

One social media user likened the public shaming and blowback against Gaysovercovid to the “Gay Civil War”. Meanwhile, the Gaysovercovid Instagram account was deactivated on Monday, but was back with more photos a day later.

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