Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ issued Healthy People 2020, a set of goals and objectives to guide health promotion and disease prevention efforts in the United States for the next 10 years. Healthy People is issued every decade, laying out benchmarks and objectives to measurably improve the health of the American people. In Healthy People 2020, for the first time, the Department acknowledges that addressing the health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is critical to the overall health and well-being of our nation. LGBT health is among thirteen new areas of focus in this year’s report, which specifically recognizes that LGBT people face significant health disparities, yet remain alarmingly ignored in the collection of health data and continue to face stigma and discrimination that negatively impact their health.
This is an important step forward for LGBT health – but it will require a strong commitment by HHS and the entire administration to fully include the LGBT community throughout the implementation of this decade-long health improvement strategy. In 2000, Health People 2010 acknowledged that gays and lesbians experience health disparities, yet markedly little was done to address them over the last decade. We thank HHS for greatly expanding and improving its consideration of LGBT health in Healthy People 2020 and look forward to working with them to ensure that this framework truly improves the lives of all Americans, including our community.