It has been a privilege to attend The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference. I want to especially thank the beautiful people at The Network, Dr. Scout, Gustavo and Daniella for their support. These last few days have been inspiring and magical. I met some bold leaders in the LGBT movement, had some big discussions and got a picture with the fabulous Kate Clinton. I met people from all over the US passionately dedicated to the LGBT movement, learned valuable people skills at the workshops and best of all I made some awesome friends. I will be able to go back to San Diego lit up by the power of our movement. I am sure that my new friend Sivagami Subbaraman’s vision of evolving from a place of woundedness to a place of wholeness will happen in our community. Thank you to all the people who made this conference a huge success!
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: Creating Change Conference in Baltimore has attracted 3,000 LGBT rights advocates from all over the US. Housing and Urban Development Sec. Shaun Donovan announces new policies to protect LGBT people.
“I’m here this afternoon because our President and his administration believe the LGBT community deserve a place at the table and a place to call home. Each of us here knows that rights that most folks take for granted are routinely violated against LGBT people. That’s why I am proud to stand before you this afternoon and say HUD has been a leader in the fight – your fight and my fight – for equality. Over the last three years we have worked to ensure that our housing programs are open. Not to some. Not to most. But open to all.”
These policies include protecting LGBT people from discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and same-sex data collection.
“Today I am proud to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose. This is an idea whose time has come.”
It’s an exciting time for LGBT people in the US. Creating Change is working for LGBT people!
The Creating Change Conference has a vibrant and high energy feel to it. There have been countless opportunities to meet and speak to a diversity of people. Last night, I unexpectedly had dinner with Janice, a phycist from Washington DC. We ended up having dinner together and so I asked her story. She is a scientist and will be speaking at an upcoming conference for the American Physical Association, a conference for scietitsts. I asked her what she was doing at Creating Change and what she sees for 2012. She is here to learn about homophobia, it turns out that homophobia is pervasive in the scientific community. Many gay and lesbian scientists are afraid to come out of the closet for fear of loosing their funding or risking their tenure. Janice wants to educate herself on LGBT inclusive language so she can better speak to other scientists about homophobia at her upcoming presentation.
I also got to meet a young man from New York City who is celebrating his 21st birthday at Creating Change Conference. He studies music and theater, sings in 2 bands and aspires to be a rock star, his name is Justice so watch out for him. He and his friends drove to the conference to engage in the conversation of LGBT activism.
I am so inspired and in awe over the many stories I have heard. Hope for a bright future for LGBT people is alive at Creating Change and beyond.
The exhibition booths at the Creating Change Conference look great. I stopped by a couple of them to ask some questions. I asked Dave Reynolds, Project Director from the Safe & Healthy LGBT Youth Project, what his plans are for creating change in 2012. He would like to see the LGBT movement grow to rural areas of the US in the Midwest and the South. He travels to places like Alabama and Oklahoma. The LGBT movement is dramatically distinct from California and the East Coast. Our LGBT brothers and sisters from these rural areas are dealing with barriers such as empoyment discrimination and even face threats from the community. He went on to say that he would love to see the LGBT movement expand and grow in every state.
I also spoke to Tres Watson, Executive Director with Canvass for a Cause and he had two plans for 2012. The first is to double their efforts in California. Canvass for a Cause is dedicated to Queer politics sucha as marraige equality and voter engagement. His second plan is to see the scope of his work expand to rural areas and politically conservative that traditionally exclude Queer issues.
SCIENCEBABBLE ALERT – This is a meeting for scientists, despite my efforts, some of this may get technical.
411 on the issue
Probability sampling = getting a group of people for your research that is statistically proven to be a random selection from the full population of interest, thus the statistics support you being able to draw conclusions for the full population based on the info from this random subgroup. (Like if 50% of your probability sample of LGBT people parachute, you can confidently say 50% of all LGBT people parachute.)
Non-probability sampling = any non-random sample of people. (Like if you do a survey at pride, it’s a non-probability sample.) Unfortunately, the statistics then do not support being able to generalize these findings to the full population, because there’s a chance bias might have snuck in. (Like, maybe pride participants aren’t as closeted as other LGBT people, so even if 50% of your sample are in LGBT parachuting clubs, you can’t say 50% of all LGBT people are in such clubs.)
Why’s this a big issue? Probability sample data is the gold-standard for drawing conclusions, but we have much less of this for LGBT people, mostly because LGBT measures aren’t included on the monster federal surveys that are the big probability studies.
- Dan Kasprzyk, Ph.D. Vice President of NORC (which I realize is so well known as one of 2 fanciest survey shops that his bio doesn’t even say what NORC stands for… so just know, NORC=surveys)
- Melissa Clark, Ph.D. Brown University Department of Community Health
- Margaret Rosario, Ph.D.
- Jeffrey Parsons, PhD. Hunter University
Dr. Kasprzyk led the panel off talking about some of his interesting experiences as part of the Institute of Medicine committee for the recent LGBT report. He emphasized that the choice of probability or non-probability might really not be as important as the reporting and impact of any well-designed study, regardless of the methods chosen. Then he moves onto talking about the federal surveys. “If the federal gov’t added LGBT measures to the American Community Survey, then allowed oversampling, that alone would allow the community to target populations, whether it’s regional, city, rural, you name it, and we’d be much better off. But we have to go beyond NHANES, you have to get on other surveys, NHIS and especially the Labor Force Survey would be very valuable.” He emphasized how important it was to get measures on these large full-probability surveys, “because otherwise you remain invisible.”
“Probability data is very important, it is the gold standard, in Washington, that’s what people are going to listen to. I think the real advancement in healthcare policy comes from really pushing hard with the federal government to have these questions on those surveys, and that point cannot be diminished. I think it’s really important that we actually stay focused on the federal government and become part of that health policy debate.” Dr. Kasprzyk
Dr. Clark followed (that’s Melissa to you and me) and led off by echoing all of Dr. Kasprzyk’s points. She says “”That’s usually how I end every talk I give about sexual minorities, I say ‘please help us get these questions added.'” She talked about her experience at Brown University and how much she’s been working to try to get the non-LGBT researchers to include LGBT measures. Through this effort, she’s managed to take one of the IOM report recommendations and institutionalize it, “Now when there’s a new study, people have to either include sexual minorities or explain why they are not.” Kudos to Melissa, let’s hope NIH follows suit!
Next up was Margaret Rosario. She warns us that while probability samples are important, most of our real explanatory data will come from non-probability samples because they are so much cheaper they have more latitude to go much deeper into issues, explore causal models, etc. For her, the bottom line is either approach can be useful, it’s often an issue of cost, if we have the chance to do the higher costs full-probability samples, excellent, if not, let’s just do excellent non-probability studies. Lastly she also weighs in on the importance of getting LGBT measures on the large surveys, “For the probability studies, please please, whatever we can do to get questions on there, do be able to identify the population as best we can, we should definitely do that.”
The panel was rounded out by Jeff Parsons. He talked about how it always seems there’s a flavor of the day at NIH for the newest rage for sampling, some of which are just never really viable in the field. “You can’t just count every 9th person who goes in the bar and pull them for the study, it doesn’t work.” Tonda Hughes from UIC echoes that sentiment, noting that the popular method, Respondent Driven Sampling, has never worked for her in samples of women.
As the discussion opens up to audience comments, there’s an interesting suggestion from Jim McNally, a director at ICPSR (the Intra-university Consortium of Political and Social Research, probably the largest data library in the country). one of the University of Michigan (ICPSR) scientists… “We recommend people work to create a small strong full probability sample and then ask the same questions you have on the federal surveys. That way you have policy strength to compare to the federal questions.”
My Non-Sampling Error Experience
Ok, I’ve fled from the very exciting Netroots Nation conference to get back to Boston because today and tomorrow mark the 3rd annual convening of one of The Fenway Institute’s other major initiatives, the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health. Not only does this mean I get to hang with some of my farflung friends for two days, not only does it mean the largest gathering of trans health researchers I’ve seen, not only does it mean I get to meet many upcoming researchers involved in the mentorship program, but right now, it’s also the biggest meeting about LGBT research that occurs each year.
I came a little late, so am jumping in as the head of one of the most prestigious survey centers in the country, Dan Kasprzyk of NORC, weighs in on issues related to LGBT sampling. (He was just talking about a non-sampling error experience.) So, I’m going to focus more on the actual content now… but just wanted to start off by giving you a little bit of context to the meeting, because this is a really cool project.
Abstract of Center for Population Research in LGBT Health Project
Previous studies have shown that sexual and gender minorities have higher prevalence of life-threatening physical and mental health conditions, experience significant barriers to health care quality and access, and face substantial threats to quality of life. Population-based research is necessary to more fully understand the causes of these disparities, so that effective responses can be developed. The proposed project’s long-term objective is to create a sustainable capacity for population studies and the translation of results into practice models for sexual and gender minorities. This 5-year effort will be conducted by the Fenway Institute, supported by the Research and Evaluation Department of Fenway Community Health (FCH), a Federally-Qualified Community Health Center. FCH provides comprehensive primary health care and mental health services annually to 11,000 neighborhood residents and students in nearby colleges and to LGBT persons, primarily from Greater Boston. Approximately 55% of patients self-identify as LGBT, reporting sexual or gender minority behavior and/or identity. The project has the following specific aims to develop the infrastructure for population research regarding the health of sexual minorities: (1) develop and support a multidisciplinary faculty to advance the study of sexual and gender minority populations, (2) create a shared research library, to include selected population-based datasets and findings from a large clinical dataset, and (3) disseminate the products of our work through the internet, a monograph, and peer-reviewed journal articles. A team of researchers with diverse qualifications has been assembled to address these specific aims, with the assistance of a National Advisory Board of experienced population scientists and technical experts. The input and collaborative work of these researchers will lead to a common framework for multidisciplinary scholarship that advances understanding of sexual minority populations and how social, cultural, and institutional factors influence their health. This work will provide a foundation for culturally competent treatment approaches and behavior change models for sexual minorities.
I’m down here in NYC and very, very happy to be at the press conference where New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation just announced mandatory LGBT cultural competency training for all their 37,000 employees! They also debuted the excellent new LGBT cultural competency video created by our friends at the The National LGBT Cancer Network. The Cancer Network created the full training to be administered to every NYC hospital employee, both the trainings and video are available for purchase or replication. (Don’t forget, the National LGBT Cancer Network is also our collaborator in our brand new LGBT Wellness NYC Marathon team.)
To have the head of all NY public hospitals reinforce that LGBT cultural competency trainings are a mandatory part of good healthcare is historic, let’s hope other cities and hospitals soon follow! See their press release here.
Even HHS Secty Sebelius weighed in on what a big deal this is:
“I applaud the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation for its leadership in ensuring LGBT patients are treated with the respect and dignity we all deserve. HHC has offered a path to a fairer America and HHS looks forward to seeing other efforts from care providers from around the country toward that same goal.”
We were also live-tweeting from the event with all play-by-play tweets on @lgbttobacco and @lgbthlthequity with some major help from friends on the ground @cathyrenna and @RennaComm, so check out updates there.
The video shown features the stories of several LGBT people who have experience bias in hospitals and in the healthcare system. You may have already seen an article about these trainings in Huffington Post, and an excerpt of the powerful video can be seen here:
Let’s hope the news spreads fast and other hospital systems follow suit.
See more press about this in:
- Advocate Magazine: NYC Hospitals Adopt LGBT Competence Training
- DNAinfo.com: New Hospital Program Addresses LGBT Health Woe
- New York Times Blog: For Public Hospital Employees, New Training on Gay Patients
- NY1: New Program Attempts To Eliminate Barriers For LGBT Patients
- Rainbow Access Initiative: Breaking News! NY Hospitals Announce Mandatory LGBT Cultural Competency Trainings
- University of Arkansas for Medical Science: Center for Diversity Affairs to Sponsor LGBT Cultural Competency Strategies Webinar
by Network Staff
Gustavo, Emilia and Scout
We have some exciting news to share!
You may remember our action alert at/after Creating Change 2011, petitioning the CDC to include LGBT people/questions in data collection. We receiving almost 500 signatures through in-person and online petition, and we are happy to share the letter we received from CDC Director Thomas Frieden. The CDC acknowledged the gaps in research and funding, as well as clarified their committment to prioritizing LGBT data collection and funding. The letter outlined a number of projects the CDC is working on to include more research and data collection of LGBT people:
- The recent release of a National Health Statistics Report by the National Center for Health Statistics, which includes data on sexual identity and behavior from the National Survey of Family Growth. This report is available online at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhrs036.pdf.
- A collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies throughout HHS to develop and test questions on sexual orientation and gender identity in order to improve both the quality and quantity of such data.
- A Surveillance Summary under development at CDC for publication in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on sexual identity and behavior among high school students using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) in selected jurisdictions from 2001-2009.
- A review of the existing LGBT data by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, which will result in the generation of baselines and targets addressing LGBT health disparities through the Healthy People 2020 initiative. This process will include meetings with the LGBT data experts and stakeholders to provide transparency and opportunities for input.
To read the entire document, read the copy below or click on the link for the PDF: Frieden Letter to Network