A CDC report signals the agency will resume work on LGBTQ health

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Advocates say a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signals that the agency will resume critical work on LGBTQ+ health, something they say is direly needed during the pandemic. The CDC released a report last week detailing the many health disparities that make lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans particularly vulnerable to complications from coronavirus. Information on transgender people was not included, because the survey turned up too small a sample size of respondents, the CDC noted. Intersex people are also not represented in the dataset. The report’s stated goal is to guide future data collection and create a roadmap for tackling health disparities. But the data itself is not new: Under the Obama administration, the CDC had been documenting the health challenges facing LGBTQ+ people. The Trump administration, however, hit the brakes on LGBTQ+ data collection. Jessica Halem, former LGBTQ outreach and engagement director for Harvard Medical School said “We have to ask these gender identity questions, and we can ask simple questions about sexual identity that lets us know who we’re reaching and who are not.” LGBTQ+ organizations have been sounding the alarm for a year about the ways in which queer Americans are being hard-hit by the virus, but until now, federal reports have given little weight to those fears.

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