On Friday, April 1st, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a number of steps it was recommending to the President to improve the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. The agency said it was confident of the President’s support for the initiatives.
The recommendations include policies that prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for HHS programs and employees, increase the number of federally-funded health surveys that collect sexual orientation and gender identity data, and encourage health profession training programs to include LGBT cultural competency curricula.
HHS will take additional steps, integrating an even stronger component focusing on LGBT youth in all anti-bullying initiatives, reducing the barriers encountered by prospective and current foster and adoptive parents who are LGBT, and requiring all organizations serving runaway and homeless youth to be equipped to serve LGBT youth. These commitments are major advocacy wins that support PFLAG’s ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being for LGBT individuals and their families, at the local, state and national level.
“We applaud Secretary Sebelius for taking steps to end discrimination against so many of our LGBT loved ones and their families,” said PFLAG National president, Rabbi David M. Horowitz. “Her leadership in responding to the needs of LGBT people in federally supported health programs will certainly lead to fostering stronger families for all. We at PFLAG National look forward to continuing our work with this administration to respond to the health-related needs of all Americans.”
The HHS announcement was in response to an April 2010 memorandum from the President that not only directed HHS to put out rules prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in hospital visitation, but also asked HHS to explore additional steps the agency could take to improve the lives of LGBT communities. The final hospital visitation rules were announced in November and took effect in January.
For complete details on all of the department’s recommended actions, click here to visit the HHS website.