Palm Springs Mayor Hits Back at GaysOverCovid Critics Calling Her 'Queen of the Karens'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday January 13, 2021

Christy Holstege, Mayor of Palm Springs
Christy Holstege, Mayor of Palm Springs  (Source:Christy Holstege / Twitter)

Despite receiving abuse on social media, Palm Spring mayor Christy Holstege isn't backing down on her criticism of gay and bisexual men partying in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pink News reports.

Last week, Holstege — who, in December, was the first openly bisexual elected to the office of mayor in the US — praised the gaysovercovid Instagram page for calling out bad pandemic behavior putting others at risk, and commented in her own Instagram Stories that holding "massive parties" is "unacceptable":

"It violates the state's stay at home orders which prohibits non-essential travel, it's dangerous that people attending will be coming back to our communities, especially considering our LGBTQ community is particularly at risk and traumatised from the HIV pandemic, and it's especially problematic as [it's] mostly white privileged people travelling to a lower income country and communities of colour that can't afford to keep out infected tourists.

"I am hearing from tons of residents of Palm Springs who are extremely concerned about this."

In response, Holstege has received abuse on social media from what she says are "circuit party guys" attacking her physical appearance in the comments sections of photos with her newborn. In one instance, she said someone branded her the "Queen of the Karens." Holstege responded on Instagram:

"What do you have to say about defending your position that it's OK to violate public health orders, travel to a poorer country that can't afford to keep us out, risk the lives of people in Mexico, and selfishly party while people in our community are dying at home (and also while most of us are doing our part to stay home and make extreme personal sacrifices to do that for a year straight?)"

On Saturday, in an Instagram post, Holstege clarified:

"I commented on @gaysovercovid and now I'm a furious mayor slamming all the (mostly white) people partying in Mexico. ??????????? Not furious. Just disappointed. ???? It's unacceptable to party with the masses during the height of the pandemic and then travel back to high risk communities like Palm Springs. It's especially problematic if you are a privileged white American traveling to a country like Mexico when COVID is disproportionately affecting low income communities and people of color.

I know this is difficult. We all want to party like it's 1999 and we will after the pandemic is over and our communities are vaccinated. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Please stay home to save lives.

(If you do have to travel out of the state, please follow the new state orders to quarantine for 10 days before going ANYWHERE.) Edit: the photo used by @pink_news is not taken from the parties in Mexico. There are similar photos from there though."

The gaysovercovid account is anonymous, and was started the call out the hedonism of gay and bisexual men attending circuit parties during a pandemic in which approximately 375,000 people in the US, and 134,000 in Mexico — where the circuit parties are taking place — have died. Currently, 22.6 million in the U.S., and 1.53 million in Mexico, are infected with COVID-19.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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