Data: Kids of gays more likely to eat biscuits than bagels

Conventional wisdom flips toward the south:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Being gay in this Southern city was once a lonely existence. Most people kept their sexuality to themselves, and they were reminded of the dangers of being openly gay when a gay church was bombed in the 1980s. These days, there are eight churches that openly welcome gay worshipers. One even caters to couples with children.

The changes may seem surprising for a city where churches that have long condemned homosexuality remain a powerful force. But as demographers sift through recent data releases from the Census Bureau, they have found that Jacksonville is home to one of the biggest populations of gay parents in the country.

In addition, the data show, child rearing among same-sex couples is more common in the South than in any other region of the country, according to Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gay couples in Southern states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are more likely to be raising children than their counterparts on the West Coast, in New York and in New England.

Parenting by Gays More Common in the South, Census Shows [NY Times]

Good As You

—  admin

House Subcommittee Passes LGBT Data Collection Bill, Republicans Incorrectly Call It “Grossly Intrusive”

As we told you earlier this week, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Health Data Collection Improvement Act, a bill that would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal health surveys and programs.  This data would provide invaluable information about the health needs of LGBT people and help the federal government begin to address the health disparities facing our community.  The bill was discussed as part of a hearing on several public health bills held yesterday by the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

This morning, the Subcommittee held an uneventful markup of the 15 other bills, passing them onto the full Energy and Commerce Committee by unanimous votes.  Congresswoman Baldwin’s bill, however, raised Republican objections – with Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), for example, stating that, “for the life of me I do not see any reason at all to do this bill.”  Barton offered an amendment to gut the bill, which failed to pass, as did an amendment offered by Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-PA) that would prohibit HHS from designating LGBT people as a health disparity population, even if the new health data showed that we do indeed suffer health disparities.  In the end, with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and, of course, Congresswoman Baldwin forcefully defending the bill, it passed out of the subcommittee by a party-line vote of 12 to 10, and will be taken up by the full committee next week. 

Republican members of the Energy and Commerce promptly issued an offensive press release, entitled “Democrats Insist on Sexual I.D. Questions for Patients at HHS Health Clinics.”  While the bill simply permits the Secretary to collect data where she deems it appropriate, and only on a voluntary basis with significant privacy safeguards in place, in the release Rep. Barton calls the bill “grossly intrusive.” 

Opposing data collection aimed at making LGBT people healthier.  Data collection.  A new low for House Republicans.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Congresswoman Baldwin Introduces LGBT Health Data Collection Bill

Yesterday, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Health Data Collection Improvement Act, a bill that would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that federal health surveys collect voluntary data on sexual orientation and gender identity.  Such data is critical to understanding the unique health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and ensuring that federal health programs and dollars are targeted to address them.  We already know that LGBT people experience significant health disparities – both due to health conditions that disproportionately affect our community and the widespread discrimination that continues to limit our access to quality healthcare.  The Center for American Progress detailed these disparities, and the need for health data to understand and combat them, in this 2009 report.

The bill is on the agenda for a broader hearing on public health legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. HRC submitted a statement [pdf] on the Health Data Collection Improvement Act for inclusion in the record for the hearing.

Alongside Congresswoman Baldwin, the National Coalition for LGBT Health and other allies, HRC strongly supported the inclusion of LGBT data collection language in health reform legislation, but it was ultimately not included as part of the final bill signed by President Obama.  We applaud Congresswoman Baldwin for her continued leadership on this issue, working to ensure that the health needs of LGBT people are part of the federal government’s broad commitment to a healthier America.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright