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Institute of Medicine releases groundbreaking report on LGBT health

March 31, 2011

Findings in Injustice at Every Turn by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality cited in report.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force praises today’s release of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. The report is a valuable voice in a growing body of research and professional opinions that the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States are not being met under current programs. The IOM report serves as an important reminder of why data collection on the community and programs tailored to the specific needs of LGBT people are critical.

IOM is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. The release of The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People was a response to a request from the National Institutes of Health asking for guidance on LGBT research.

Task Force staff submitted testimony to the IOM on Injustice at Every Turn, a groundbreaking report by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality that detailed discrimination encountered by transgender people in the United States, including many barriers to better health and access to health care.

The survey results of Injustice at Every Turn revealed that 19 percent of respondents had been denied medical care because of their gender identity and that 50 percent of respondents had to teach their medical providers about transgender health care. Forty-one percent reported having attempted suicide. The transgender community overall experiences four times the rate of HIV infection as the entire population in the U.S. Across the board, the survey results showed poorer health care outcomes for transgender people of color.

Statement by Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey:

In detailing just how little is known about the health issues confronting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the Institute of Medicine report exposes the disturbing fact that our community has been largely ignored in most medical and health services research. The startling statistics and personal stories in Injustice at Every Turn are just a few examples of the distressing state of LGBT health in this country that must be directly addressed by federal policies and programs. We are pleased our survey was able to help inform the committee as it created the IOM report on gaps and opportunities in LGBT data and research, which shines a critical light on the health disparities facing LGBT people and provides recommendations to assist researchers in identifying and addressing these needs.

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