State agencies in New York will begin collecting information about sexual orientation in order to improve health and human services for LGBT residents.
Eight state agencies will ask the New Yorkers who use their services to self-report their sexual orientation on forms. These agencies are the Department of Health, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Office for the Aging, Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Office of Children and Family Services and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
A 2011 Institute of Medicine report showed that limited data collection on health issues specific to the LGBT community had made it more difficult to identify disparities in the kinds of care available to them.
If that data was available, the state could develop better ways of addressing health problems like H.I.V./AIDS and certain types of cancers prevalent among gay men. …
Being able to keep track of the transgender population could also yield other information that helps the state address non-health issues, like discrimination and financial disparities, O’Connell said. While medical researchers have provided estimates of LGBT state populations for years, this type of government effort to collect comprehensive data on LGBT New Yorkers is unprecedented, he said.
It may just be another round of paperwork, but this speaks volumes about New York’s commitment to learning about the needs of its LGBT communities. I’m excited to see what will come of this.