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Thursday December 14th 2017

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HHS restores LGBTQ elders to older adult survey

The National LGBTQ Task Force (“the Task Force”) is celebrating the restoration by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of a sexual orientation question to the survey of older adults. The Task Force will redouble its effort for the addition of a gender identity question to the national survey. (Empty Closet: Trans activists say the omission of gender expansive and transgender seniors is unacceptable).

“This is a tremendous victory over the political forces who are trying to erase LGBTQ people from vitally important population surveys,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

In its constant monitoring of the Federal Register, the Task Force noted the erasure of the sexual orientation question in March and immediately started an advocacy effort to have the question restored and to have a gender identity question added. In part as a result of our FedWatch project, a petition circulated to our members, and efforts by colleagues like SAGE, 10,000 individual commenters and more than 80 organizational commenters were mobilized to engage with HHS in its public comment submission period. The pressure worked and the sexual orientation question was restored last week.

“We count. We won’t be erased. And when we raise our voices in significant numbers, it has an impact — even with such an anti-LGBTQ Administration in power. Now we fight on for the addition of a gender identity question,” Carey stressed.