HHS Secretary Sebelius Notes Administration’s Accomplishments on LGBT Issues
October 17, 2011 by Andrea Levario, Senior Public Policy Advocate
Today, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met with LGBT health leaders from across the country, highlighting the work of the Obama Administration to date. She began her remarks at the National Coalition for LGBT Health’s annual meeting by praising the work of two community pioneers, Dr. Frank Kameny and Paula Ettelbrick, who recently passed away.
Among her agency’s accomplishments the Secretary noted the release of an LGBT Data Progression Plan in order to begin integrating sexual orientation and gender identity variables into HHS national surveys, and requiring hospitals to ensure visitation rights for same-sex couples and their families. Both of these critical administrative changes were part of HRC’s Blueprint for Positive Change.
Beyond these concrete steps what was most remarkable was her openness. It really felt like the Secretary was speaking to every LGBT person in the room at a personal level, as individuals. She emphasized that we are being heard. This came across quite clearly when she pointedly stated that HHS’ job is to deliver and meet the health and human service needs for our community and all Americans.