“A Report of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Health in the District of Columbia,” Mayor’s Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, 06/30/10
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“DCTC Alarmed by Exclusion of Trans Communities in LGB Health Report,” DC Trans Coalition, 07/07/10
Letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty, DC Trans Coalition, 07/07/10
Reports and Research, DC Trans Coalition
GLAA notes "T" missing from LGB Health Report
GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
Tuesday, July 27
The Honorable Yvette Alexander
Committee on Aging and Community Affairs
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
Note: If at all possible, please include this letter in the committee record
for the July 14, 2010 Round Table on the LGB Health Report.
Dear Councilmember Alexander:
Thank you for convening the recent Round Table on the report on LGB health released by the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs on June 30, 2010.1 We regret that we could not attend.
The report states that “the District of Columbia is making investments in the health of the GLBT community.” Yet under “Limitations,” the report notes that “there were no questions asked about transgender residents.” This is because the report is based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)2 which, as the report states, “is a cross-sectional telephone survey conducted by state health departments with technical and methodological assistance provided by the Center for Disease Control.” The lack of transgender data thus appears to stem from the failure by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include transgender people in BRFSS.
GLAA shares the concerns expressed by the DC Trans Coalition in response to the GLB health report.3 While we appreciate the report’s purpose “to prompt discussion about how to improve health outcomes in the GLBT community in Washington, DC,” the data and the discussion need to include the “T” part of the community. As with hate crime reporting, any limitations in what federal authorities track should not limit what the District tracks. We therefore endorse the recommendations in DCTC’s July 7 letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty, which include needs assessment funding, issuing a trans health report, improved data collection, and commitment to true inclusion.4 We were glad to learn that an option exists for states to add questions, and that the District is taking steps to do so regarding transgenders.
Transgender people in D.C. are disproportionately poor and unreached by our health care system. Prostitution is often a means of survival as discrimination and sex-transitioning keep many out of stable employment. This is a serious HIV transmission vector that has been neglected by HAHSTA because of the relatively small number of transgender people. HAHSTA must make medical care for this at-risk population a priority. The discrimination faced by transgender people limits their access and willingness to seek medical care. A comprehensive approach by the city is needed, and that must begin with data gathering. We understand that to ensure scientific validity, survey questions must be properly designed and the data gathered and analyzed in a particular way. We appreciate the assurances we have received from Christopher Dyer that the city is proceeding to rectify the situation, and we look forward to your continued oversight efforts.
Richard J. Rosendall
Vice President for Political Affairs
cc: The Honorable David Catania, Chair, Committee on Health