New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network
Marks LGBT Health Month
Network Members and Supporters Meet with Legislators
Who Have Provided Vital Financial Support
Focus is Non-HIV-Related Needs: Mental Health and Counseling, Domestic Violence and Assault Services, Homeless Youth,
Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention
Albany, NY, February 28, 2012--Members and supporters of the New York State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Health and Human Services Network visited the State Capitol in Albany today to kick off LGBT Health Month and meet with legislators to talk about the need for health care and related services for LGBT New Yorkers across the state.
“With the Great Recession continuing to impact the fiscal health of New York State, the need to continue to support the statewide safety net of services provided by the LGBT Health and Human Services Network has never been greater,” said Jonathan Lang, Director of Governmental Projects and Community Development for Empire State Pride Agenda. “LGBT communities have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn and are demanding more services from organizations that are already struggling with shrinking budgets and reduced resources. From providing shelter for LGBT youth to counseling individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues, the Network is collectively working with hundreds of thousands of LGBT New Yorkers in every corner of the state, and from every possible background. The Network is promoting healthy behaviors and reducing health disparities for a historically underserved population, but needs New York State to continue its support in order to continue the progress that is being made.”
Network members were presented with resolutions commemorating LGBT Health Month from the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.
“LGBT Health Month provides a unique opportunity to increase the awareness of and acknowledge the importance of addressing vital health related issues impacting LGBT individuals living throughout New York State,” said Jasán M. Ward, Director of LGBT Health Services for In Our Own Voices. “LGBT people of color bear the brunt of health disparities most acutely and it is our basic health needs that must be addressed.”
The Network is a statewide coalition of nearly 60 LGBT-serving organizations, collectively providing services to 800,000 LGBT New Yorkers and their families, in all 62 counties of New York State. Network organizations have been collaborating since 1994 to provide non-HIV related health and human services to LGBT communities, including those who have been historically marginalized including youth, seniors, people of color, people of low income and people who are transgender.
“It’s imperative to place a focus on LGBT Health as the continuing disparities in access to LGBT culturally competent healthcare are formidable,” said Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC, a transgender private practice psychotherapist. “For transgender individuals there are multiple barriers to accessing care: affordability, health insurance coverage, finding a transgender knowledgeable provider who is also culturally competent, hostile waiting room situations, outright denial of care by providers--sometimes in life threatening emergency situations--and other forms of discrimination. An incredible amount of advocacy needs to be done to correct these disparities.”
Focusing on the unmet needs of some of the most underserved New Yorkers, Network organizations provide cost-efficient services including:
- Health and wellness programs providing primary and preventative health care
- Mental health treatment and family counseling
- Domestic violence and sexual assault services
- Crime victim assistance
- Homeless and runaway youth services
- Alcohol and substance abuse prevention
- Cultural competency training in serving LGBT seniors
“In most ways, families in New York State with one or more LGBTQ parents are just like ’traditional’ families: they are characterized by love and commitment,” said Claudia Stallman, Project Director at the Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project. “However, our families also face unique challenges, including discrimination and unequal treatment when it comes to healthcare access and service delivery. LGBT Health Month is a great opportunity to call attention to these challenges and increase awareness about LGBTQ families.”
According to the Network’s 2010-2011 Annual Report:
- Almost 70% of Network organizations have operating budgets of less than $1 million.
- 26% of Network organizations reported having laid off or eliminated full or part-time staff member positions in the last year.
- 28% of Network organizations rely on state funding for more than half of their operating budgets.
- The Network continues to reach communities in all of New York’s 62 counties.
“We’re really excited to see NY LGBT Health Month entering its third successful year,” said Erik Libey, Director of LGBT Health Initiatives for AIDS Care. “Even with the many great advances for the LGBT community--like increased awareness about teen suicide and the passage of marriage equality--it’s important to further address the many health disparities faced by LGBT New Yorkers; and this month’s statewide awareness-building provides a great opportunity!”
Discretionary legislative funding has been a vital source of support to the Network. The Assembly first provided support to the Network in 1999 and continued to do so for the next decade. The Assembly provided 1.54 million to the Network in 2009 and the Senate added its support that same year with $2.048 million allocated for LGBT health and human services. $5.26 million in the governor’s Executive Budget is currently slated for the Network.
“The National Coalition for LGBT Health (the Coalition) congratulates the New York State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and Human Services Network and the Empire State Pride Agenda for the launching of the 2012 LGBT Health Awareness Month,” said Hutson Inniss, Executive Director of the National Coalition for LGBT Health. “According to a national report published last year by the Center for American Progress and the Coalition, LGB adults are about twice as likely as the general population to be without health insurance coverage, and the rates of the uninsured are even higher among transgender individuals. The theme for this year’s campaign, Taking PRIDE in our Health, highlights the importance of engaging health providers, policymakers, and the wider community in fostering an environment that supports the health and well-being of LGBT individuals and families.”
Read the Network’s 2010-2011 Annual Report.
Learn more about the New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network.
Follow @prideagenda on Twitter for a tip a day throughout LGBT Health Month.