By Jason A. Michael | May 31, 2023
From MiGen’s “The Hottest Bodies on the Beach Are Vaccinated” campaign. Photo: MiGen
MiGen, formerly Sage Metro Detroit, is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get the word out about flu vaccines and Covid boosters for older LGBTQ+ adults this summer. The organization’s new campaign, “The Hottest Bodies on the Beach Are Vaccinated,” or “Hottest Bodies” for short, will work in partnerships with other local organizations to host pop-up vaccination events, publish eye-catching marketing materials and employ on-the-ground navigators to motivate the community to participate.
“This campaign, as with nearly all of the best things happening in and for our community right now, was truly a collaborative effort in terms of funders and partners involved,” said MiGen Executive Director Angela Gabridge. “In addition to promoting adult vaccination, it’s an effort to build our internal capacity around creating and deploying effective public health campaigns that affect the LGBTQ+ 45-and-over communities with the intent of creating change.”
Gabridge went on to say that as the community continues to recover from Covid, the pre-Pride season is a great time to launch the campaign. Older LGBTQ+ people were twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ people to have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, she said. In addition, nearly 35 percent of older LGBTQ+ people of color personally knew someone who died from Covid. For white folks, that number is 30 percent. And according to the Williams Institute, LGBTQ+ people ages 45 and older were more likely to experience the health and economic impacts of the pandemic than any other group.
But the Hottest Bodies campaign, which included a kickoff event featuring Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that took place May 18 at Affirmations, is about more than these sobering statistics. It’s about fun and playfulness, as evidenced by the images that accompany the campaign and that were displayed at the Affirmations event. In them, older LGBTQ+ adults are frolicking in colorful, beach-ready outfits. You can’t help but smile just seeing the pics.
MiGen board member Michelle Fox-Phillips is one of several LGBTQ+ community members who threw on some beach gear for the campaign.
“I thought it would be fun to pose for it,” said Fox-Phillips. “And it was.”
Jason A. Michael is a senior staff writer for Between The Lines and Pride Source Media Group. He has been writing BTL since 1999. Jason is also an Essence bestselling author. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org