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Summary: On 6/22/20, GLMA joined a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and Steptoe & Johnson LLP, challenging the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently published healthcare discrimination rule that purports to carve out transgender and LGBQ people and other vulnerable populations from the protections of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, among other bases.

Summary: On June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ people are protected from workplace discrimination under federal law, saying “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, and GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, issued a statement about the historic ruling .

Summary: On June 12, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule that eliminates federal regulations ensuring nondiscrimination in healthcare for transgender people and LGB people, people who are pregnant or seeking an abortion, those who require healthcare services in a language other than English, and other marginalized communities. In its announcement, HHS noted it was “restoring the rule of law” by interpreting sex discrimination “according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology.” GLMA issued a statement condemning the action.

Summary: On May 28, more than 1000 healthcare providers, health professionals and students sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and other key administration officials expressing opposition to a pending final regulation that would rollback nondiscrimination protections in healthcare for transgender and LGB individuals, women, people with disabilities and patients who need communication assistance in their native languages. The letter calls on the administration to suspend implementation of the final rule, especially during a pandemic when HHS should focus on providing care to all, not setting up barriers to healthcare. GLMA and the National Center for Transgender Equality organized the sign-on effort.

Summary: On April 21, 2020, GLMA, Whitman-Walker Health, the National LGBT Cancer Network, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, the New York Transgender Advocacy Group, and SAGE issued a second open letter to public health officials, healthcare institutions and government leaders on the impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ communities. The letter, joined by 170 organizations, called for action to protect LGBTQ patients from discrimination and to include sexual orientation and gender identity in data collection efforts related to the pandemic. The letter also called for action to address the economic harm to LGBTQ communities from the pandemic.

Summary: On April 2, 2020, the FDA announced it was changing its blood donation policy by lowering the deferral for a man who has had sex with another man from 12 months to 3 months. GLMA has been advocating for changes to the blood donation policy affecting gay and bisexual men since 1982. In a statement, GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, and GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, called the change “an encouraging step in the right direction” but also called for an end to categorical restrictions that continue to stigmatize gay and bisexual men. Read the statement here.

Summary: On March 11, 2020, GLMA, the National LGBT Cancer Network and over 100 LGBTQ and ally organizations released an open letter on COVID-19 and LGBTQ+ communities. The letter outlines potential risk factors for LGBTQ people, and calls on public health officials and the media to ensure LGBTQ communities are part of the public health response and communications related to the coronavirus.

Summary: The US Fifth Circuit of Appeals invalidated the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act and asked the lower court to reevaluate whether the other numerous provisions and nondiscrimination protections of the ACA can stand in absence of the individual mandate.

Summary: On 5/24/19, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a regulatory proposal that would essentially eliminate gender identity and sex stereotyping from nondiscrimination regulations adopted under the ACA. This revision falsely suggests that healthcare providers and insurers may legally discriminate against transgender people, allowing them to deny transgender people medically necessary and life-saving care. GLMA and the American Psychiatric Association organized a letter of 31 health associations supporting nondiscrimination protections for transgender and LGB patients and GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS, released a statement condemning the regulatory proposal.

Summary: On May 17, 2019, in a historic vote, the US House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive and explicit nondiscrimination protections nationwide for the LGBTQ community, ensuring that nobody is discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. The vote marked the first time that a chamber of Congress approved a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill covering LGBTQ people.

Summary: On May 2, 2019, HHS released the final Denial of Care rule which encourages healthcare providers who object to healthcare services based on religious or moral grounds to discriminate against LGBTQ patients, people living with HIV, and women seeking reproductive healthcare services. GLMA President Gal Mayer called the rule “antithetical to the values we share as healthcare providers.”

Summary: The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) approved a comprehensive position statement on sexual and gender minority (SGM) health in dermatology during its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in early March. The effort, spearheaded by the AAD Expert Resource Group on LGBTQ/SGM Health, affirms the Academy's commitment to the health and well-being of sexual and gender minority individuals. GLMA was proud to have collaborated with the AAD Expert Resource Group on LGBTQ/SGM Health on activities during its Annual Meeting, including the new position statement on SGM health in dermatology.

Summary: On March 12, the Department of Defense announced a military service policy that requires transgender people to suppress their gender identity and serve in the sex they were assigned at birth in order to serve or enlist in the military. Any individual not serving in the sex assigned at birth after the policy takes effect on April 12 will be subject to discharge. The policy exempts currently enlisted transgender troops who have already transitioned or have begun to transition prior to the policy effective date. GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS, issued a statement in response to this policy.

Summary: On March 13, 2019, the Equality Act was introduced to the 116th Congress for consideration. If passed, this federal bill would provide comprehensive and explicit nondiscrimination protections nationwide for the LGBTQ community, ensuring that nobody is discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. GLMA was proud to have joined other health professional associations and organizations in endorsing this bill. See the letter GLMA President Gal Mayer, MD, MS, sent out about this, and learn how healthcare professionals can work to ensure the Equality Act gets passed!

Summary: On February 27, 2019, Chair-Elect of the AMA Board of Trustees Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, and five decorates transgender troops provided testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on why transgender troops should not be excluded from military service. Chair-Elect Jesse Ehrenfeld provided testimony on AMA policy that states there is no medically valid reason to prevent transgender individuals from openly serving. GLMA was proud to introduce this policy in 2015 to the AMA House of Delegates..

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