Albany, NY – The Pride Center of the Capital Region applauds Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that New York State is undertaking a coordinated, multi-agency effort to strengthen data collection for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers. The mission of the Pride Center is serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the Capital Region. Based in Albany, the Pride Center has been meeting the diverse needs of LGBT people in a ten county region since 1970.
Outlined in the first report by the State’s Interagency LGBT Task Force, this statewide effort to include sexual orientation and gender identity information in data collections will allow the state to better tailor services to meet LGBT needs, ultimately improving the health and lives of thousands of New Yorkers. This effort makes New York the first state in the nation to employ a coordinated strategy to develop its data collection procedures for the LGBT community.
The Institute of Medicine in its March 2011 report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, emphasized the need for collection of gender identity and sexual orientation data. Due to current limited data collection, it can be difficult to identify the specific nature of health and other disparities in the LGBT community and formulate effective means of addressing them. New York’s LGBT advocacy organization is proud to partner with these statewide agencies to finally start collecting critical information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers. The information collected will be incredibly useful in identifying and understanding the needs of LGBT New Yorkers, allowing NYS to create more tailored approaches to effectively reduce the well-documented health disparities adversely impacting our community.
Eight state agencies currently collect or are updating their systems to collect LGBT demographic information in their clinical and survey instruments: the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Department of Health, the Office for the Aging, the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office of Children and Family Services, and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The Taskforce is working with all agencies to identify additional appropriate systems to update in 2015, and will ensure agencies are sharing resources and best practices in training and implementing these changes.
“New York State has a long history of advancing progressive ideals, and today we are continuing to lead the nation by identifying new ways to improve services and better meet the needs of the LGBT community,” Governor Cuomo said. “By being more inclusive with how state agencies monitor the demographics of those they serve, we can address health and financial disparities, safety concerns, and a myriad of other issues that impact LGBT New Yorkers. This is another step forward for an important community in New York, and our administration will continue standing up for all New Yorkers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”