May 18, 2018 at 2:45 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Trump’s CDC to roll back LGBT health data collection: report
LGBT Health, gay news, Washington Blade, health care, improving

The CDC is set to eliminate an LGBT question on a federal health survey. (Public domain image)

The Centers for Disease Control is set to roll back data collection on the health of LGBT people from a major federal survey, according to an LGBT think-tank.

A CDC official disclosed the changes Thursday at a Denver conference hosted by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement

The official reportedly said the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System — which CDC provides to states to find data on risk behaviors and health conditions — will no longer include an optional module on sexual orientation and gender identity starting next year.
Kerith Conron, research director at the Williams Institute, said the federal government is “shirking its responsibility to LGBT Americans” by removing the LGBT module.

“The BRFSS is one of the few federally supported data collection activities that make the needs of LGBT people known to governmental agencies responsible for the safety, health and welfare of the public,” Conron said.

According to the Williams Institute, the LGBT module in the BRFSS — an optional module since 2014 — was used in more than 30 states and territories and provided the first representative snapshot of transgender health and socioeconomic status in the United States.

The data, according to the Williams Institute, confirmed transgender people are at high risk of poverty, which smaller studies conducted in HIV epicenters had observed.

The removal of LGBT questions from federal surveys has been a trend in the Trump administration. Last year, the Department of Health & Human Services disclosed plans to eliminate a question allowing elders to identity as LGBT on the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants. Although HHS restored the sexual orientation question after a backlash, the department maintained the decision to eliminate the gender identity question.

Adam Romero, the Williams Institute’s director of federal policy, said in a statement the elimination of the LGBT module in the BRFSS is consistent with that greater trend.

“The CDC’s announcement appears to be part of an alarming trend within the federal government aimed at limiting our knowledge about LGBT people, despite the fact that these data are vital to policy making and designing evidence-based interventions to improve health and well-being,” Romero said.

The Washington Blade has placed a request in with the CDC seeking verification the module will removed and the explanation for why.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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