The COVID-19 pandemic has radical implications for how we perceive our environment. Worldwide, people have been asked or required to limit close proximity with others not of their household, and to wear masks in public. In my practice with gay men, I have seen clients present with feelings of guilt triggered by the current public health crisis, with its prolonged physical distance from others and authorities’ warnings about the dangers of physical closeness. This chapter briefly explores the history of the HIV/AIDS crisis in America in relation to the current pandemic, the resurgence of shame and guilt about identity, and the return to complex relational roles, with particular regard to violation of expectations as it relates to lack of or poor responsiveness from caregivers. The role of resilience in marginalized communities’ response to government neglect will be addressed. Brief case vignettes of diverse gay and queer identifying men will be presented to illustrate the effects of the slow burn of isolation stress on men who lived through the HIV/AIDS crisis and now live with the coronavirus pandemic.
- Violation of expectations
- Shared trauma