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April 21, 2020 Press Release:
LBGT PA CAUCUS & ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS ISSUE SECOND OPEN LETTER URGING DECISIVE ACTION TO PREVENT COVID-19 DISCRIMINATION
170 Organizations Highlight Need for Nondiscrimination, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Data Collection, and More Help for Economically Devastated Communities
One hundred and seventy national, state and local LGBTQ+ and allied organizations have joined in a second open letter to health and policy leaders highlighting the importance of measures to prohibit discrimination in COVID-19 treatment and prevention, and clear communication of those measures and policies to better serve the health needs of marginalized communities with histories of discriminatory encounters with the medical and public health systems. The letter also urges medical providers and public health authorities to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data for COVID-19 cases in addition to data on race, ethnicity, age, sex and disability, in order to document and address the pandemic’s impact on minority communities. The signing organizations also emphasize the urgent need for more robust relief for lower-income individuals and families, and for persons who are dependent on lower-paying jobs in hospitality and other industries which are being decimated by the pandemic.
“We are in the middle of an unprecedented global health crisis – and we cannot afford to leave anyone behind,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. “As our work continues to get families and communities the resources they need to survive, we must ensure that protecting LGBTQ+ communities is a core part of our country’s response to COVID-19. Ensuring non-discrimination has and always will be a priority for me, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to make that a reality.”
“LGBTQ people have increased risk factors for COVID-19, including higher HIV and cancer rates, higher rates of smoking, and increased risk of homelessness,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who serves as Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and recently led a letter urging data collection. “We must ensure that the LGBTQ community has access to the resources it needs to face this pandemic, including quality, non-judgmental, and affordable healthcare, as well as unemployment benefits for every impacted industry, including the service and entertainment sectors. We also must collect data to understand how the LGBTQ+ community is being impacted by COVID-19.”
“Whitman-Walker and other community health centers that care for LGBTQ+ patients and others in marginalized communities have many patients who are understandably fearful of neglect or mistreatment in this pandemic,” said Laura Durso, PhD, Chief Learning Officer of the Whitman-Walker Institute. “Many of our patients work in lower-paying jobs that are particularly vulnerable in this crisis. We are committed to protecting those who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s economic devastation.”
“Early surveillance has shown how health disparities create very different outcomes for vulnerable populations,” notes Scout, PhD, the Deputy Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, “which shows us how important it is to add LGBTQ data collection to COVID-19 surveillance.”
These organizations call on public health authorities, medical providers and government agencies to reinforce safeguards against discrimination; to foster collaborative relationships with LGBTQ+ service providers and advocates; to collect important data on patients, including sexual orientation and gender identity; and to expand the economic relief and legal protections needed by individuals and families particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.
The letter was initiated by a coalition of six organizations: The Whitman-Walker Institute; the National LGBT Cancer Network; GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality; SAGE; New York Transgender Advocacy Group; and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. The full letter text, full signer list, and additional organizational response resources can be found online at this link: https://cancer-network.org/coronavirus-2019-lgbtq-info.
March 19, 2020 Press Release:
The LBGT PA Caucus Participates in Open Letter About LGBTQ+ & COVID-19
Over 100 Organizations Ask Media & Health Officials to Weigh Added Risk
The LBGT PA Caucus joined over 100 other organizations as signatories of a national open letter about coronavirus and the LGBTQ+ communities.
The letter, organized by the National LGBT Cancer Network and GLMA, addresses the LGBTQ+ communities’ increased vulnerability for coronavirus 19 as a direct result of three factors:
Further, the letter outlines a series of strategies for all parties handling COVID-19 surveillance, response, treatment, and media coverage to reduce further stigmatization of vulnerable groups in their future actions.
“Information and responses about COVID-19 are changing extremely fast. As the media and health communities are pushed into overdrive, we need to make sure the most vulnerable among us are not forgotten. Our smoking rates alone make us extremely vulnerable, our access to care barriers only make a bad situation worse,” notes Dr. Scout, the Deputy Director for the National LGBT Cancer Network, “but this letter outlines simple steps to ensure no population is further stigmatized by a virus.”
The open letter with the full list of signatories is available here: https://cancer-network.org/coronavirus-2019-lgbtq-info/
November 5, 2018 Press Release:
In response to reports of a memo obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that seeks to narrowly redefine sex under federal law as an immutable, binary construct determined by one’s genitalia at birth, the LBGT PA Caucus joined more than 35 leading health professional associations and community health centers on a letter strongly opposing this proposal as contrary to medical science.
The 38 organizations joining the letter recognize that gender is non-binary and cannot be determined solely by sex assigned at birth, and strongly urge that the Trump Administration reconsider this reported course of action that would have detrimental impact on the health and well-being of transgender and intersex individuals, and seriously impede nondiscrimination protections for these communities.
October 25, 2018 Press Release:
"At their October 25 meeting, the Board of Directors of the LBGT PA Caucus of the American Academy of PAs, Inc., unanimously passed a motion endorsing the following statement, in regard to a recent media headlines indicating the current White House administration may try to roll back recognition and protection of transgender individuals:
The LBGT PA Caucus unapologetically rejects any effort to erase transgender people. We will continue to affirm the inherent humanity of our transgender colleagues and patients.
August 15, 2017 Press Release:
"At their August 15 meeting, the Board of Directors of the LBGT PA Caucus of the American Academy of PAs, Inc., unanimously passed a motion endorsing the following statement:
The LBGT PA Caucus — stands firmly together in solidarity with other marginalized communities. All of us at the LBGT PA Caucus condemn in the strongest possible terms the voices and the actions of domestic terrorists who gather in the name of hate. Violence in any form contradicts our collective vision of a healthy society...." Please read the full statement.