Scout Director Network for LGBT Health Equity A Project of The Fenway Institute
A few weeks ago I was about to go with community advocates to meet with H.H.S. Secretary Sebelius to provide input on her LGBT action plan items for the coming year. As we covered on a prior post, we’d been really hit by how little leadership has been taken in prioritizing LGBT disparities in a series of recent funding calls for proposals. That night, I wrote to the Network’s Discussion listserv asking: “What would our world be like if that funding hadn’t passed us by?”
Well people responded strongly, urging me on wonderfully to stand up and be clear about this gap. While I already knew we’d be delivering our new policy brief, LGBT Cultural Competency in Funding, to Sebelius, spurred by the response I went even further, and wrote her a personal letter urging her to please use Community Transformation Grants as the example and fix the larger problem of including LGBT disparities in health funding streams.
She came to the meeting for only a few minutes. But community advocates had agreed this should be one of our top issues, and I was the designated spokesperson. So even with just a few minutes of face time, I was able to tell her about this problem and ask her to please step in to fix it. Her response and that of the other officials in attendance was strong. We hear they’ll be having internal discussions about this very soon. Good, I’m crossing my fingers. Below is the text of the letter I handed her (along with the policy statement) at that meeting.