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LGBT Population Research Center Mtg on Intersectionality – part 2

Director of Network for LGBT Health Equity
Reporting from Intersectionality Working Group meeting of LGBT Population Research Center
The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA

Panel 2 – Methodology for Intersectionality Research

Kimberly Balsam, PhD

Mignon Moore, PhD

Juan Battle, PhD

Brian Mustanski, PhD

Kimberly Balsam starts by laying out some challenges in each stage of the research (sampling, measurement, analysis, interpretation). She talks a bit about two different research projects she’s been finishing, the Rainbow Project and the Rainbow Women’s Health Survey. At least one study is still being published so I won’t talk about the findings as much, but instead focus on her methods. First, each study was mixed methods, combining a few strategies to get to the people they wanted to recruit. Respondent-driven sampling was used (one of the shiny stars of rare population research) as well as targeted sampling. There was an interesting subdiscussion here on interviewing, one researcher talked about a project where they used community members instead of graduate students to do the interviews, then even further, allowed the participants to choose their own interviewers. They found that most of the participants (all Black), chose sex and race matched interviewers. But African and Afro-Carribean interviewers were more likely to request white interviewers. Another research project was brought up where Black men in prison were being interviewed, and while they presented as heterosexual to the heterosexual interviewer, it all changed once the gay researcher got in the room. Everyone agrees, the researcher affects the data, but we don’t have enough information on how.

Next we get to see some advance results of Juan Battle’s national LGBT of color survey, named Social Justice Sexuality project. Like Kimberly, he used mixed methods for his sampling: quota sampling, venue sampling, snowball sampling, respondent driven sampling, the internet and partnering with a “whole host” of community based organizations. He worked for a year and a half to set up the partnerships. Then, they went to every different type of event imaginable, festivals, parties, special events, prides, rodeos, dinner parties, the choir directors caucus at the National Black Baptist Convention, everything they could find. Face it, “mixed methods” hardly describes the breadth of the methods, seems like it’s more like “every method you’ve ever heard of”. The result? Over 5,000 respondents. So what about findings? Well, I won’t say any results because they’re still coming out. But he brought up an interesting methodological point. Usually when you ask about importance of racial identity v. sexuality you get 90% of your sample saying, “no real diff”. So he approached this question differently, he asked “how important is your sexual identity?” in one part of the survey, then in a very different part “how important is your racial identity?” Fascinatingly, suddenly most of the sample said either race or sexuality was more important.

Now onto Mignon Moore, who I gotta give a big shout to because she was one of my dissertation advisors, w00t! She’s done a series of research studies on Black lesbians that are coming out in a new book very soon, Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships, and Motherhood among Black Women. Again, what’s our theme? Mixed methods! Not only in recruitment but in data collection too. She talked about the particular value of surveying all of her sample but supplementing it with in-depth interviews for half, allowing greater exploration of the survey results. She has an interesting (and time saving) take on researching intersectionality: instead of comparing across race or gender categories, analyze the experiences of the people who live at those intersections. She asked questions about primacy of identity like Juan did and that brought up some interesting information: one identity can be used for self-definition, but a wholly different one can be used as a status that helps a person stick with a particular group.

The panel was rounded out by Brian Mustanski, who’s been working on a project with LGBT youth of color in Chicago. He’s really interested in the question of whether resiliency about race can be transferred to become resiliency about homophobia, but of course explores a lot of intersectionality on the journey to that goal. Again our theme, the study used mixed methods. They started with a survey (using the Race Coping Measure), added psychiatric interviews, mental health self reports, then specifically added open ended qualitative questions both at enrollment, and then again at one year followup. His discussion of the analysis was interesting, to integrate the different types of data collection, they ended up using a qualitative coding scheme for the whole project, to try to bring up themes across the different datasets. And he brings us right back to our theme from the first session, it’s all about context. When they asked about race they heard about neighborhoods, when they asked about neighborhoods, they heard about race, so in some cases, context really defines the issue.

Lisa Bowleg sums it up: “To do intersectionality research, you really have to do mixed methods research”. She challenges us to go further, incorporating more disciplines in the research braintrust, go to the economists to see what neighborhoods to study. But mostly, don’t get stuck on methodological limitations. We really are pioneering some interesting research strategies as each of us draws from our different resources to create our own particular mix of methods.

David Chae rounds out the discussion by bringing up the elephant in our room… we need more general population surveys to include measures of sexual orientation and gender identity. Hear hear, we don’t count until we’re counted!

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LGBT Population Research Center Mtg on Intersectionality – part 1

Scout, Network Director
Reporting from the Intersectionality Working Group Meeting
of the LGBT Population Center at The Fenway Institute
Boston, MA

Meeting Background

The Fenway Institute has another really cool project (in addition to ours), the LGBT Population Research Center. This is the first federally funded population research center that focuses on us. It’s a really fascinating concept where the Center works to help convene and support LGBT population researchers to share information and grow new collaborative research projects. I’m lucky enough to be a faculty member, so I get to go to those cool meetings that bring the researchers together to confab and plan. I’ll tell you, they’re always valuable, there’s nothing like an occasional face to face to really jump ideas forward. So now, how does that lead us to today? Well, at a recent population center meeting Ilan Meyer and our own Steering Committee member, Phoenix Matthews, both started talking about the issues related to LGBT research on race and ethnicity. This germ of an idea has now grown into a specially convened meeting on Intersectionality. So now we’re here in the room with about 25 LGBT researchers who’ve specialized in research on LGBT race, ethnicity, or other facets of intersectionality. You know we’re all about sharing information here at the Network, so let me see if I can speedtype and try to give you a birdseye view of the meeting. Excuse these longer than usual posts, but there’s an amazing amount of expertise in the room and this is a too rare type of gathering to let the discussion float off into the ether.

Just a note, within the first twenty minutes alone it was clear the meeting was exceptional, the excitement was palpable. In the words of one researcher “I’m literally choking up because I’m so happy I’m not the only Black researcher in the room.”

Caution High Gobblygook Ahead: While we tried to translate into plain language, there’s no escaping this was a dense scientific meeting.

Lisa Bowleg, PhD

Margaret Rosario, PhD

Panel 1: Theoretical Conceptual Issues for Intersectionality

Panelists: Lisa Bowleg, Hector Carrillo, David Chae, Margaret Rosario, Bianca Wilson

Hector Carrillo, DrPH

Bianca Wilson, PhD

The day kicks off with a rapidfire panel asking “What is Intersectionality?” “Who should be involved?” “How does it help us think about LGBT health?” Perfect for me, because I think I’m a bit weak on question 1, what is intersectionality? David Chae gives the definition below. He notes that it’s traditionally been interpreted as being the study of the intersections of race and gender.

Intersectionality: Traditionally used to describe a structure of interlocking oppressive systems.

Lisa Bowleg frames it up fast, “We’re not interested in identities alone, we’re interested in social justice and power.” “And so often, data we get doesn’t help us. I’m looking at the Census tables and I’m looking for intersections, and I just get the table on Blacks or on women. That doesn’t help me.” As David says, intersectionality is really about disentangling that “Matrix of Oppression”, in some cases social identities may be more important than others and intersectionality between them may be more or less relevant.

David points out that identity is both internally adopted and externally ascribed. There’s some evidence that the externally ascribed identity might impact people more than internally ascribed for both race and sexuality. (In plain talk: what folk think you are might affect you more than what you think you are.) “Disease emergence is a socially produced phenomena” -Paul Farmer. David has some great graphics showing how socially oppressive systems, group identity and discrimination all feed into health outcomes.

Margaret Rosario uses an interesting term, she asks “How are identities arranged? Does this give us information about their health?” Some people arrange their identities hierarchically. They are usually ranked in importance by a few factors: “salience or likelihood of being activated by others”, individuals own subjective basis, or temporal grounds. What are temporal grounds? That might be something that is designated in certain contexts, like a researchers deciding “you may not identify as ____, but I think you belong in that group.” Now we can consider identities as intersecting, like in a venn diagram, but we could also consider them as nesting, so we need to explore intersectionality as one possible model.

Bianca Wilson talks about how she sees intersectionality as potentially three different constructs. She’s done a lot of work exploring these contexts with black lesbians. First, it’s the Matrix of Domination (I want to get that slide). Where the “holy trinity” of oppressive factors (race, sex, class) interact with other factors like fat-based sizeism, and heterosexism. All stand alone, plus potentially interact with each other, each independent unit or interaction flowing into the total health of a person. There where some interesting discussions here about a threshold effect in discrimination. There have been studies showing white people react more poorly to adverse incidents than people of color, the hypothesis is that experiencing something more routinely raises your threshold of tolerance. But what other effects does it have? Second, intersectionality represents interlocking sources of socialization. You are both socialized and trained by the different communities you’re affiliated with, that socialization often builds resiliency and sets standards for what is “routine”. Third, intersectionality represents multiple community affiliations, the different current social experiences you have continue to build your health context all throughout your life.

Hector Carrillo talks a bit about the potential pitfalls of intersectionality. According to him, as we explore this we run the risk of essentializing the sexuality of the people we’re studying. He worries that essentializing the sexual culture within these communities is the same phenomena that has led to the ‘othering’ of LGBT people of color too often. (cripes he talks fast) He also says, when we study the multiple lines of oppression, we run the risk of exaggerating their overall impact. We know people display amazing resiliency, that’s hard to measure. He cautions that to use intersectionality as a frame, we need to not only look at oppression, we need to really look at the different contextual factors. He’d like to suggest that we can approach research and programming not by directly asking about identities, that we instead ask about their lives, and look at the emphasis areas, then do the analytical work to see what is relevant to them in different contexts. Juan Battle heartily agrees “I really like the idea of adding intersectionality on the back end, because otherwise, it’s kinda like asking a fish to describe water. You can’t do it because you’ve never been out of it.” Lisa Bowleg also concurs, “The onus is really, really on the analyst for intersectionality. Data do not stand on their own, they have to be interpreted. The analyst has to have a voice in this work.”

Margaret really sums it up, “The body and the mind remember, we may forget the many insults to us, but the body and mind remember, and those memories can be activated when they get to a certain threshold.

Whew, and that’s it, time for a break. Back with more later!

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Puerto Rico is our dream!

by Scout

Program Director


Reporting on 1st LGBTT Health Summit in Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Tobacco Prevention Summit


Press on LGBTT Health Summit

Press on LGBTT Health Summit

First we watch the local organizers knock it out of the park with their first ever LGBTT health summit yesterday, but today it only got better. (FYI: two Ts because locally you say transsexual and transgender)
We wake up to hear the LGBTT Summit has gotten a big story in the main San Juan paper (see pic including quote by one of our favorite bloggers, Juan Carlos Vega). Then I bike over to the main Puerto Rico Tobacco Prevention Summit, where the happy news just keeps washing over all of us.

PR Tobacco Prevention Summit Flyer

First, even though the conference is sold out, since I’m from the Network for LGBT Health Equity, I’m welcomed as a VIP; then we see the cover of the program includes a rainbow; then we see every major sponsor of the LGBTT summit has been recognized as a sponsor of this event (including ourselves and the Latino disparity network) (see other picture); then we hear that the PR quitline last year started asking if callers were LGBTT; then we count and realize 6 of 8 conference breakout sessions include content by the LGBTT organizers; and then we learn that one month ago PR even added LGBT questions to their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (the main “state” health survey)! Can you believe it? I only wish half the states were as inclusive of LGBT and all disparities as is the fine US Territory of Puerto Rico.

AND they have amazing beaches! Let the emigration begin.

March 15, 2011 Posted by | Puerto Rico | 1 Comment

Creating Change: Chrystos Gives 1st Ever Native American Plenary Speech

Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
Report from Creating Change 2011
Minneapolis MN


Some plenaries are inspiring, some are difficult, some are sobering and challenge us to really grow, and some are all. With a gathering of her fellow Native Americans, Chrystos took the stage for the latest Creating Change plenary. She tells us how this is surprisingly the first Native American plenary speech ever at this conference. She tells us of her history in San Francisco with the Daughters of Bilitis. Of the beatings, the police harassment, the concessions gender variant people would make to keep eating. She reminds us how many of us aren’t white, we are really Indo-European immigrants. She tells us how she jokes with her Native American brethren that their problem is really a lax immigration policy. She reminds us that this country is built on two fundamental tenets, the exploitation of Native Americans for land, and of Africans for labor. She talks about how she still doesn’t feel safe except among her small Gay Native American group, a group that has only 4 of the 80 founding members still living. She reminds us how the Native American communities recognize the two-spirit people, a lens that separates sexuality and gender, then adds acceptance, in a way that my indo-european mind marvels at. She tells us that Identity Politics is too small a place to stand.

I can’t really convey how funny she was, an amazing reality considering the stories she was telling.

She asks us to think critically. Reminds us that the win on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell allows us to die for a country that doesn’t give us civil rights.

Through her stories she shows us how the Native American people are still being looted by us colonizers. And she asks us to take our hands out of that bag.

And she gives us homework, to read real books. Specifically these four: The Turqoise Ledge; Conquest; Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot; Journal of an Ordinary Grief.

Chrystos leaves us with a wish, “May you find your way to the greatest of all wisdoms, as the Talmud says, kindness.”

February 5, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Creating Change Report: Obama Appointees List Recent Gains

Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
Reporting from Creating Change 2011
Minneapolis, MN

It’s Easy to Forget How Far We’ve Come

Now I’m a glass half full kinda guy, but I also think we’ll gain more if we keep pointing out places where HHS isn’t doing quite as much as we’d hoped for in LGBT health. Like, CDC calls for data collection on us but funds data collection without us; or how the recent healthcare reform factsheet for LGBTs said there would be new professional training, but recent awards for professional training haven’t included us; or how the disparity arm of NIH hasn’t funded any LGBT proposals… you know, that kind of stuff. If we watch and point out these things they often get fixed. But as I sat there an listened to the panel of Obama appointees present on some of our gains this morning I am newly reminded, this glass is more than half full. Yes, we need to fill it all the way up fast because for too many, these disparities are very urgent issues. But, we really are in a situation where the administration is trying their hardest to change decades of exclusion in many federal agencies, and a lot of progress has been made. Let me run through just a few of the gains listed by Brian Bond from the White House, David Hansell from HHS, and others at this mornings appointees panel.

  • Healthcare reform (if it stays!) will provide historic health insurance for the too many uninsured LGBT people.
  • The top government health policy documents list LGBT disparities early and in big type.
  • The Department of Justice is starting to step in and has even helped prosecute local cases of LGBT school bullying. (remember in much of the country, discrimination in the school system is actually still legal).
  • The Department of Education is about to release (or did they say they just did?) strong standards to eradicate LGBT bullying in our schools.
  • Every single HHS agency has a senior staffer who is assigned to the HHS interagency coordinating group.
  • David Hansell, our hero at the HHS’s megasized Administration for Children and Families has been taking many steps to take apart the legacy of discrimination against LGBT youth in the foster care and adoption system. He says 78% of LGBT youth have had to leave foster care placements because of discrimination. So, you can see how sorely this is needed.
  • Administrator Hansell has also stepped up to provide a precedent for how to require LGBT disparity plans in mainstream health funding streams, and others like SAMHSA are following this lead.
  • Standards for passports have changed to allow trans people to travel safely. (<- in case you don’t understand how real this is, I was advised not to leave the country until these changes were made).
  • And something I didn’t even know until today… rules of parenting have been revised so now anyone who parents a child is eligible for family leave benefits.
  • And again healthcare reform, healthcare reform, healthcare reform, not only has this legislation shifted the health discussion from medical care to prevention (like tobacco control!), but LGBT people are being named in the strategic plan documents, in the factsheets, and in much of the ground-level work. This is really amazing!

Thanks to all of the Obama appointees, the policymakers, and the hard working advocates who made every one of these changes real.

But now, the conference is continuing, NGLTF’s State Of The Movement speech is about to start, so let me stop writing and listen.

Till soon.

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Creating Change, Creating Change 2011, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

New Government Factsheet on LGBTs & Health Care Reform

Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity

Feds Release Factsheet on LGBTs and Health Care Reform

Face it, health care reform a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, is complicated! I don’t think anyone’s an expert on all of it, and it takes a magician to figure out what this means for LGBT folk. (Thanks though to many stalwarts such as Kellan over at the National Coalition for LGBT Health that are really working hard to untangle it.) So, I’m hugely happy the feds have helped us out and put out a new factsheet about it, The Affordable Care Act and LGBT Americans.

It’s short enough to read directly, but I’ll outline the sections and note a few highlights here.

Factsheet Topics & My Two Favorite Sentences

  • New coverage options
  • New patient protections
  • Preventative care for better health – including my favorite paragraph talking about how the feds are rolling out millions of dollars for tobacco control, nutrition, exercise, & HIV work and if I may quote: “The Department of Health and Human Services intends to work with community centers serving the LGBT community to ensure the deployment of proven prevention strategies.” Yes!! Ok, well I’d bet they really meant to say they wanted to work with all local LGBT groups, but hey Terry and all y’all over at CenterLink, isn’t this cool? And remember, we’re running a webinar with CenterLink and the Equality Federation this coming Monday Jan 31st, details here.
  • Improving Care and Fighting Disparities – includes my second favorite sentence:And through increased research and data collection on health disparities, policymakers will have the knowledge and tools they need to continue to target resources to LGBT communities.” Right on! Collect data on us puhlease!
  • Small business tax credits

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Health Advocacy Webinar Monday: Act Now to Enhance State LGBT Suicide Prevention Plans

By Scout
Network Director

State LGBT Groups and Network for LGBT Health Equity Collaborate on State Health Advocacy Webinar

Monday Jan 31, 4-5 pm EST the Network, CenterLink, and Equality Federation will be jointly throwing a webinar about an immediate opportunity for local LGBT advocates to provide input to statewide suicide prevention programs. Please join us as we get the latest dope from guest speakers Dr. Barbara Warren from Hunter College and Dave Reynolds from The Trevor Project on how to use this opportunity to enhance local work or partner with your state. The webinar is open to all, RSVP online; registration is required to estimate number of lines needed.

Background: The Broken Record “Include LGBTs In All Your Health Funding”

The Network for LGBT Health Equity has been saying one thing over and over to several different federal agencies: do a better job at including LGBT disparities in all your funding streams. But we’re not just complaining, we’ve got some specific ideas on how to improve this. One big strategy is to require disparity plans in all that money you spread around the country. We recently prepared a joint paper on this with the other tobacco disparity networks. We presented this policy paper to CDC (the federal prevention/infectious disease arm) and shared it with SAMHSA (the federal mental health arm); this week we’re going to be presenting it to the head of disparities at NIH (the federal health research arm). We also spoke up at the recent SAMHSA public meeting about requiring LGBT disparity plans in all incoming proposals, we even gave them some other federal health requests for proposals to use as samples. Big thanks to the excellent folk at Administration for Children and Families (uh, the federal kid/family health arm) who are leading the way on this topic by requiring LGBT disparity plans in proposals last year.

News: Unprecedented LGBT Inclusion in Recently Released Call for $18M of State & Campus Suicide Prevention Proposals

Well, a week ago we were thrilled to see that SAMHSA has really stepped up and used these strategies to significantly enhance their recently released requests for $18M of suicide prevention proposals. These enhancements go across two different requests for proposals, one for states, one for campuses. While the last request did include mention of LGB disparities, now the applicants are asked to talk about specific LGBT disparity plans and collaborations in some detail, in two different proposal sections that are worth a total of 55% of the total score. No one is guaranteed money, so that’s why we’re betting any state or campus going after this cash will be very responsive to every detail, including LGBT disparity plans. An estimated 32 awards will be given to states, and 18 to campuses. The awards last for up to 3 years.

Action Alert: States Turning in Proposals on Suicide Prevention February 18th – Now’s The Time to Forge Partnerships!

So as we see it, here’s the math…

States writing suicide prevention proposals now
+ States need more LGBT inclusion than ever before
= Perfect window for local LGBT advocates to contact them and suggest smart LGBT suicide prevention strategies & partnerships!

If you want to learn how to contact the state reps crafting these proposals or find some smart strategies to suggest to them, then please join us on this webinar!

WHEN: Monday January 31, 2011, 4 pm EST

WHERE: Please RSVP online to register and we’ll send you call information the morning of the call

WHO: Anyone interested in advocating for better LGBT suicide prevention work in their state


  • Overview of this Advocacy Opportunity & Goals – Dr. Scout, Network for LGBT Health Equity
  • Finding the Right State Rep – Dr. Scout
  • LGBT Youth Suicide Prevention Strategies – Dr. Barbara Warren, Hunter College Ctr or LGBT Soc. Sci. & Public Policy & Dave Reynolds, Trevor Project
  • Partnering with your state – Dr. Barbara Warren & Dave Reynolds
  • Comments from CenterLink & Equality Federation staff
Questions? Ask them here or email

January 25, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts | 1 Comment

Suggestions Wanted: What Should We Say to New Health Prevention Council?

by Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
The Fenway Institute

What is the New Health Prevention Council?

To really launch health bigger than it’s been before healthcare reform established a new National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. Why is it bigger than anything before? Because it’s not just made up of folk in health, but includes heads of 17 Cabinet level departments and agencies. People like head of EPA, Dept of Education, and Dept of Transportation. This allows for their plans to be really crosscutting (can anyone say bike lanes or school lunches?) This group is charged with coming up with a National Prevention Strategy by March of next year (yikes). You can see in Emilia’s post how we just submitted comments on their draft plan this last weekend.

Health and Human Services Headquarters

But you didn’t get a chance to submit your own comments, well, never fret because…

We’ve Been Invited to Talk to Them Next Week!

We just got an invitation down to HHS headquarters to attend a stakeholders conference for this Prevention Council next Wed (Dec 15th). Now you never know what kind of a cattle call these things are but we’ve been honing our skills on getting the mic and we were long ago taught to wear very bright clothing to these things (thank you to the early lesbian health activists). So, it’s pretty likely we’ll get a chance to speak up. Which means…

What Do You Want Us To Say?

Remember that chilling statistic CDC gave us, tobacco, exercise and nutrition problems create 85% of our total health care costs in this country. This issue is massive. And we know LGBT discrimination translates right into unhealthy behaviors that put all of us at greater risk for all these chronic diseases. What are your concerns about LGBT tobacco use, exercise, nutrition, wellness, prevention, health… bring it on! The Network is only as good a mouthpiece as you can make us. Email your input to We’ll do our level best to get your voice heard!

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Healthy People 2020 Launches Today! Historic LGBT section!

By Scout
Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity
Reporting from HP2020 Launch Event in Washington, DC

Historic Attention to LGBT Health

Sneaking up to take pic before the bigshots arrive.

It’s been a decade in coming, but the government blueprint of their health goals is officially unveiled today!! You’ll be very happy to hear that there is a new section on LGBT health, which is historic alone, and we must remember this is the first time T has been included at all!!

The Network’s been part of a small group meeting with the HP2020 organizers for years now, we formally participated in the tobacco workgroup, and it was through one of our advocacy meetings that we pushed them to propose a new HP2020 LGBT workgroup (which we then helped them draft justification for). Someone must’ve noticed all our nudging because last night I got a call from the HP2020 director saying Secretary Sebelius’ office just emailed her to make sure the Network got VIP treatment at the launch today!!

So, I’ve jetted down and I’ve snagged a chair right behind where the Surgeon General is supposed to be sitting and I’m now waiting for the launch.

Want to Be Part of the Launch?

Watch the live webinar at: (wave if you see me, ok?)

And word from here is they will be taking questions from both Twitter and email, so follow @gohealthypeople on Twitter or hit them on their email at
Follow me at @scoutout for live tweets as we go or stay tuned here for a summary recap afterwards!

App Challenge To Be Announced

One bit of gossip I’m overhearing is that they are going to announce a challenge for developers to create iphone, android and computer apps that help launch Healthy People! I love that idea, what about an application to help LGBT folk give their input on when health is going wrong for us?

411 on LGBT Health Info

From: André Wilson
Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) will be launched Thursday December 2, 2010 and the HP 2020 website has just rolled out.  Setting a “10-year agenda for improving the Nation’s health,” the HP 2020 objectives will guide national priorities (e.g., funding) for data collection, prevention, treatment, and research.
Significantly, HP 2020 has included LGBT Health as a specific topic area for the first time. New HP 2020 web resources, including a particularly comprehensive and well-documented  HP 2020 Fact Sheet on Transgender Health, report significant health disparities for LGBT people.  However, a close review of HP 2020 objectives reveals a continuing lack of LGBT inclusion.
Those who recall the 2001 LGBT companion document to Healthy People 2010, will also remember how swiftly that groundbreaking resource was withdrawn from the HP 2010 website.  Visit the HP 2020 website now to download resources. Please also monitor the site regularly to ensure that resources remain available.
The new Healthy People 2020 page on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health states:  
“Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Experiences of violence and victimization are frequent for LGBT individuals, and have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.” Furthermore, “Transgender individuals have a high prevalence of HIV/STDs, victimization, mental health issues, and suicide and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals.”

The new Healthy People 2020 Fact Sheet on Transgender Health states: [P]ublic health research, spurred by the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the last 20 years, has shed light on the health disparities endured by this socially stigmatized and heavily marginalized population. This fact sheet reviews epidemiological data reported in behavioral risk studies and needs assessment surveys obtained from convenience samples of 50 to 517 transgender participants conducted in the U.S. and published from 1993 to 2010.”

Documented by 76 separate sources, the Transgender Health fact sheet reviews nine HP 2020 topic areas, such as “Access to Health Services,” “HIV,” “Injury and Violence Prevention,” “Public Health Infrastructure,” and “Tobacco Use.”
Excerpts from section on Access to Health Services: Discrimination by health care providers who have denied medical care to transgender people has been reported in six studies ranging from 11 to 53 percent. […] Past experiences with provider insensitivity and hostility can produce intense fears of disclosure of transgender status, causing many to avoid health care altogether.” “H]ealth insurance coverage for these transgender-specific health services continues to be commonly excluded by most U.S. health care insurers. These blanket exclusions in health insurance policies present barriers to access to all types of health care.” This section contrasts the outdated Medicare coverage exclusion with the medical consensus expressed by AMA, APA, NASW and WPATH, and also documents increasing inclusion in commercial health plans.
Excerpts from section on HIV: The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had a devastating impact on transgender people. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not report HIV/AIDS rates among transgender people, HIV prevalence rates among transgender women vary from 5 to 68 percent in studies conducted in 12 U.S. cities and from 9.6 to 10.5 percent in 2 states. HIV infection is highest among transgender women of color… ” Nonetheless, significant gaps in testing and treatment are documented.
Index of HP 2020 topics and objectives:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health topic overview page includes links to four fact sheets documenting specific HP 2020 topic areas in which LGBT people face significant health disparities, based on recent data.
Lesbian Health Fact Sheet:
Gay Men’s Health Fact Sheet:
Bisexual Health Fact Sheet:
Transgender Health Fact Sheet:
LGBT Companion Document to Healthy People 2010:
Excel file of HP 2020 Objectives:
LGBT Health Topic Overview page:

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Action Alert: Joint Commission needs stories of bad LGBTQ healthcare!

By Scout
Reporting from 2010 National Coalition for LGBT Health Meeting

Anyone know The Joint Commission? Well, other than being in an acronym twelve-step program (their last name was JCAHO), they are the folk who accredit 95% of all hospital beds in the country. Accredit as in… if the hospital doesn’t pass their tests, I’m pretty sure it’s turned into a walmart. They also accredit community health centers too. All I know is if you work in a hospital or health center and The Joint Commission review is up, you iron your underwear.

Brette Tschurtz from The Joint Commission & Hector Vargas from GLMA

So, did you know The Joint Commission has a big project to improve care for LGBTQ people? Today at the National Coalition for LGBT Health meeting Brette Tschurtz from The Joint Commission came to tell us all about it. They started the project by adding some LGBT leaders to an advisory group, then they followed it up with a recent LGBTQ advisory meeting where they heard earfuls about how care can get better for all of us.

But now they’re going further, developing a toolkit for hospitals and health centers to serve us all better. And in order to know what exactly needs fixing, they need stories of what’s going wrong! Now if you remember that national transgender needs assessment that was just released, 1 in 5 trans people in this country has been denied health care. (Remember Southern Comfort? That trans guy was turned down from care by 19 docs before he died out of treatment.) If you’re that 1 in 5, tell them about it. Or what about everyone, every lesbian who’s been subjected to an endless grilling on birth control, every gay man who had to deal with some suddenly frosty doctor? Or what about the youth, I don’t know about you, but as an openly gay youth in the mental health care system… well let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty at all. (but yes, yes, it got better) (much better actually). So, whatever your flavor — speak up and speak out! The group that can spank your hospital wants to know if those hospitals treat us like second class citizens. Share the news, share the stories and let’s tell them every time the health care system let’s us down!

Email stories to! (No, no hyperlink, apparently that’s just like candy for spammers, so please use the old scissors and white glue to cut and paste in yr email program.)

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Action Alerts | 1 Comment

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