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The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals is proud to announce that we signed onto a letter with 39 other organizations calling for the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations (NAC) to address the critical importance of including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in data collection efforts.  You can read that letter below.

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Ms. Jeri Green

Committee Liaison Officer

Department of Commerce

U.S. Census Bureau

4600 Silver Hill Road, Room 8H182

Washington, DC 20233

National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations

 

The undersigned organizations are grateful for the opportunity to address the National Advisory

Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations (NAC) on the critical importance of

including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in data collection

efforts.

The Census Bureau (Bureau) has taken a leadership role and has been making excellent progress

at improving data collection associated with same-sex cohabiting couples. We applaud the

Bureau’s recent decision to no longer recode same-sex spouses as unmarried partners in public

data sources derived from the American Community Survey (ACS) and to include same-sex

spouses among federal statistics that identify married couples. We urge the Bureau to build on

that progress by immediately updating the “relationship to householder” question on appropriate

surveys, developing an inclusive plan to include sexual orientation and gender identity in a

broader range of federal data sets, and explicitly including gender identity in its Equal

Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy.

I. Changes to the “Relationship to Householder” Question Should Be Implemented

Immediately

We applaud the Bureau’s efforts to develop a “relationship to householder” question for surveys

like the ACS that will explicitly identify same-sex husbands and wives, same-sex unmarried

partners, opposite-sex husbands and wives, and opposite-sex unmarried partners. We understand

that these changes will significantly improve the quality of same-sex couple data and,

correspondingly, will significantly improve development of policy concerning married same-sex

couples and their families. We are grateful for the decision to implement these changes on the

Survey of Income and Program Participation and on the Current Population Survey.

However, we are concerned about delays in making these changes to the ACS, and we strongly

encourage the Bureau to accelerate their implementation. As the questions have been

successfully implemented on other national Census data collection efforts (e.g., Canada, United

Kingdom), and the Bureau has conducted its own study of the question wording, we believe that

 

there is sufficient scientific evidence to support implementing these questions immediately onto

the ACS.

II. The Bureau Should Develop a Plan to Include LGBT-Associated Questions in

All Federal Data Sources

The Institute of Medicine’s 2011 report on LGBT health disparities included a clear call for

LGBT inclusions across a wide range of federal data sets focused on health, socio-economic

status, and demographics. To date, federal statistical agencies have not developed a coordinated

strategy that would move data collection efforts toward full LGBT inclusion. We encourage the

Bureau, as the government’s lead statistical agency, to show leadership in developing a plan for

LGBT inclusion across federal data sources.

The Bureau has shown strong leadership in this area in the past, particularly in its efforts with the

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to address the challenges associated with same-sex

couple data collection efforts. Already, a sexual orientation measure has been added to the

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and a similar measure is scheduled to be added to the

National Crime and Victimization Survey (NCVS). These efforts indicate a positive trend, but,

to date, neither survey includes a gender identity measure. We ask that the Bureau show

leadership and develop an interagency process to achieve full inclusion of sexual orientation and

gender identity measures within major federal surveys. These include the NHIS and the NCVS,

along with the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey, and the Survey for

Income and Program Participation.

Without Accurate Data, It Is Harder to Respond to the Unmet Needs of the LGBT Population

Much of our knowledge about the family, health, economic, educational, and social status of

people in the United States comes from survey data. The incidence and qualitative experiences of

poverty, illness, unemployment, or income across racial, ethnic, and gender lines are routinely

measured through survey questions. Further, survey data are particularly important for assessing

the need for public policies that address racial, ethnic, gender, age, or group disparities in

important health and social outcomes, and data are necessary to evaluate the impact of those

policies.

However, we have much less information about whether and how life experiences differ by

sexual orientation and gender identity, creating a large scientific gap between what we know in

detail about other populations and what we know about LGBT people.

policy debates have heightened the need for high quality scientific data on the sexual orientation

and gender identity of adults, the aging population, and young people in the United States. In

ongoing public discussions about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender policy issues, the

practical importance of good data that accurately describe the lives of LGBT people and their

families has become increasingly obvious. Discussions of civil rights, program evaluation, public

health, and the delivery of human services must rely on sound facts and analyses that come from

 

survey research. But, often those facts are underdeveloped in the context of LGBT-related

policy issues because so few surveys include measures of sexual orientation and gender identity

that would allow for the identification of LGBT people.

Health, economic, and social surveys have always had to adapt to changing demands and

changing times. For example, as family structures have changed, government and private surveys

in the United States have added questions and responses that allow the study of unmarried,

cohabiting different-sex couples. Adding sexual orientation and gender identity measures is

simply one more adaptation to the changing world that surveys are designed to study, in this case

a world with an increasingly visible LGBT population.

Collecting more high-quality data on the disparities associated with LGBT status and other

social, economic, and health concerns of LGBT communities is essential if federal, state, local,

and nonprofit agencies are to adequately serve this population. The Bureau’s inclusion of new

response categories to the “relationship to householder” question in the ACS and other surveys

has provided decision-makers with strong data about the presence and needs of same-sex couples

in the United States. However, the question is limited in scope. We still know far too little about

the presence and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that do not have a

partner or do not live with a partner. The crucial first step in building this knowledge is adding

sexual orientation and gender identity survey measures that can help characterize the needs of

LGBT respondents to publically-funded population surveys.

The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention recognizes LGBT populations as being at a higher

risk for suicidal behavior than the general population, and recommends improved data collection

as a measure to help reduce this health disparity. Additionally, the importance of data collection

is recognized in the Affordable Care Act, which prioritizes data collection and directs the U.S.

Secretary of Health and Human Services to collect a range of data on the health disparities

associated with race, ethnicity, sex, disability status, and primary language, as well as any other

factors deemed relevant to reducing disparities. In June 2011, Secretary Sebelius drew on this

authority in the new LGBT Data Progression Plan, which commits the Department of Health and

Human Services to developing sexual orientation and gender identity questions for federally

supported health surveys. This plan recognizes that, like other underserved populations such as

communities of color and rural populations, LGBT individuals are more likely to be uninsured

and report poorer health outcomes than the general population.

Other federal sources such as the Institute of Medicine, Healthy People 2020, the Substance

Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Healthcare Disparities

Report indicate that LGBT individuals and their families are disproportionately likely to live in

poverty, to be uninsured, and to face substantial barriers to quality health care, including refusals

of care, substandard care, inequitable policies and practices, and exclusion from health outreach

or education efforts.

 

III. The Bureau Should Explicitly Include Gender Identity Among the Protections in

Its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

We encourage the Bureau to update its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy to

explicitly include gender identity. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) explicitly

forbids agencies from discriminating in employment on the basis of gender identity. The Office

states that “sex” as a basis of discrimination includes gender identity.ii

issued operational guidance requiring every agency to “ensure that agency specific plans are in

compliance with laws, rules, and regulations that make it unlawful for agencies to discriminate

for or against an applicant or employee based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy

or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other prohibited

basis.”iii We strongly urge the Bureau to adopt a policy that mirrors the OPM guidance, stating

clearly that discrimination on the basis of sex (including gender identity) is prohibited.

 

We appreciate the Census Bureau’s strong leadership on LGBT issues, as well as its decision to

introduce a revised “relationship to householder” question on appropriate surveys. We

encourage the Bureau to build on that leadership through adoption of the recommendations

included in this comment. If the Census Bureau or the National Advisory Committee has any

questions about the content of this comment, please contact Meghan Maury, Policy Counsel at

the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at (202) 639-6322, or by email at

mmaury@thetaskforce.org.

Sincerely,

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

 

Advocates for Youth

American Civil Liberties Union

Anti-Defamation League

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

Center for Black Equity

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

Family Equality Council

Forward Together

Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)

Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality

Harvey Milk Foundation

Human Rights Campaign

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

Lambda Legal

LGBT Center of Raleigh

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth

The Long Island GLBT Community Center

Long Island GLBT Services Network

Marriage Equality USA

Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center

Movement Advancement Project

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

National Minority AIDS Council

Pacific Pride Foundation

Pride Center of Staten Island

Q Center - Oregon

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders – Long Island

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)

Transgender Education Network of Texas

The Trevor Project

Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

Young Invincibles

7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center

 

 

i Sexual orientation and gender identity are different aspects of an individual’s identity. Transgender people, like

anyone else, may be gay, straight, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation. The discriminatory treatment that some

ii Diversity & Inclusion Reference Materials, supra note 53. iii U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Guidance for Agency-Specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plans 6

(2011).

 
UNC ban on gender-inclusive housing PDF Print Email

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals stands in solidarity with our colleagues and the students of the University of North Carolina as they fight the ban on gender-inclusive housing.


On August 9, 2013 the UNC Board of Governors, without public discussion, overturned the gender-inclusive housing pilot program that was unanimously approved by the UNC Board of Trustees last fall. They voted to ban gender-inclusive housing throughout the UNC system, impacting all 17 UNC-system schools. This ban comes two weeks before students return and when the pilot program was scheduled to start.


Gender-inclusive housing (also referred to as gender-neutral housing) provides students with the ability to opt-out of traditional sex-segregated housing in order to live with roommates of their choice who affirm their identities.  Many leading institutions have offered gender-inclusive housing for years and it is a great tool to increase diversity and access to education for people from different backgrounds.


This most recent ban is an example of how politics continue to affect institutional resources and policies, often at the detriment of students. The Daily Tarheel reported that, “Before the board’s decision, an N.C. Senate bill in April sought to ban gender-neutral housing at UNC-system schools, and legislators discussed a provision in an N.C. Senate budget proposal to eliminate UNC-Chapel Hill’s program.”


LGBT resource professionals recognize that offering gender-inclusive housing provides all individuals the empowering option to choose whom they live with and can be invaluable to individuals for a number of reasons.  The Consortium stands in solidarity with the brave students, staff, and faculty who continue to fight for safer housing across the UNC system.


Shared Vision and Mission Statement

To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

280 Madison Avenue Ste. 912  - New York, NY 10016-0801

www.lgbtcampus.org


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Statement in Regards to Chick-Fil-A, August 7th 2012 PDF Print Email

For Immediate Release:

Contact: justin adkins, Publications and Communications Chair
August 7th 2012

As professionals in the field, the Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Professionals realizes that relationships with companies like Chick-Fil-A are much more complicated than the media portrays.  Sometimes our students play critical roles in decisions related to contracts with outside entities while other times our colleges and universities rely on contractors and subcontractors for services. Regardless, LGBT resource professionals may often have to explain and sometimes defend institutional commitments and contracts even when they contradict stated institutional policies and values. As LGBT resource professionals we have a responsibility to support our students while working within complex organizations and institutions.

The Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Professionals calls on all institutions to uphold their nondiscrimination policies on their campuses, but not only when there is great media focus.  Colleges and universities must ensure that all contracts and relationships with external entities, including subcontractors, meet the minimum standards set forth in the institution’s nondiscrimination policies. There are many more entities beyond Chick-Fil-A, but they are not presently in the media spotlight.
Chick-Fil-A provided us with a great opportunity to engage our campus and local communities in critical dialogue around freedom of speech, civil rights, access, inclusion, equity, corporate responsibility, and social justice. It should also go beyond queer identities and relationships to critical conversations of environmental sustainability, access to affordable food, healthy eating, and more.

The Consortium stands with LGBT resource professionals in higher education as they continue to challenge their institutions to live their values and uphold their policies while engaging their communities in intersectional education.

Shared Vision and Mission Statement
To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

 
Immigration Rights, June 19th 2012 PDF Print Email

For Immediate Release:

Contact: justin adkins, Publications and Communications Chair
June 19th, 2012

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals has been busy this past week focusing on immigration rights issues.  We have signed onto 2 different statements.  

We joined LGBTQ organizations in a letter of thanks to the Obama administration for the President’s statement of support for undocumented students last week.  This effort was graciously organized by the Immigration Equality/Action Fund.  Of course, this impacts a huge number of LGBTQ youth and young people, including Jose Vargas, Felipe Vargas, Prerna Lal, and many other leaders of the DREAM movement, so it is a wonderful victory for our community.   

We also joined Lambda Legal and the Center for American Progress by signing on to a statement related to the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on immigration and immigrants’ rights. The statements explain why S.B. 1070 is bad for all immigrants, with an emphasis on how S.B. 1070 and the nation’s overall broken immigration system negatively impact people who are LGBT or living with HIV/AIDS.

As you may already know, the Supreme Court will soon issue its decision on the constitutionality of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070. (For more information on S.B. 1070, please click here; the ruling is expected to come down this month, but we do not yet know the exact timing). The statements we signed are in collaboration with the Center for American Progress and Lambda Legal (with help from Immigration Equality and the National Council of La Raza) they will be released following announcement of the Supreme Court’s decision (one statement is for a positive ruling; the other for a negative outcome).

Our work for LGBT equality relies on strong allies. In order to build and maintain relationships with allies, we must also be good allies. Signing these statements provided a great opportunity to show our support for our allies in the immigrant rights movement and the thousands of LGBTQ immigrants in this country.

Shared Vision and Mission Statement
To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

 
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) PDF Print Email

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals commends the The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) In what has been hailed as a "landmark" move.  On Monday the EEOC ruled that employers who discriminate against an employee, or potential employee, based on their gender identity is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.

M. Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Attorney for Lambda Legal says, “This is the first time the EEOC has held that transgender people are protected from discrimination by federal law.  This ruling, by the agency in charge of enforcing and interpreting federal discrimination laws, confirms the growing trend of court decisions holding that sex discrimination laws protect transgender people from discrimination. The decision applies to both private and public employees everywhere in the United States. It will be binding on EEOC offices and investigators across the country, and will be binding on all federal agencies. The decision will also be entitled to significant deference by the courts.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality found in their survey, “Injustice at Every Turn” that transgender people face

  • Double the rate of unemployment: Survey respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population at the time of the survey,with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.

  • Widespread mistreatment at work: Ninety percent (90%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.

  • Forty-seven percent (47%) said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.

  • Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming and 50% were harassed.

  • Large majorities attempted to avoid discrimination by hiding their gender or gender transition (71%) or delaying their gender transition (57%).

  • The vast majority (78%) of those who transitioned from one gender to the other reported that they felt more comfortable at work and their job performance improved, despite high levels of mistreatment.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination on the EEOC website: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

Shared Vision and Mission Statement

To critically transform higher education environments so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni have equity in every respect.

 
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