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Summary: On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States. President Biden issued several Executive Orders on his first day, including on LGBTQ equality, racial equality, and the response to the pandemic. GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS, and Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, issued a statement applauding the Biden administration's commitment to LGBTQ equality and racial equity.

Summary: On 1/19/21, President-elect Joseph Biden announced that he will nominate Rachel Levine, MD, to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed, Dr. Levine will be the first openly transgender official confirmed by the US Senate. GLMA President Scott Nass, MD, MPA, and Executive Director Hector Vargas, JD, issued a statement on this historic nomination.

Summary: On December 21, GLMA proudly joined with twelve other leading health professional associations in a friend-of-the-court brief challenging Idaho's HB 500, which targets trans student athletes, as well as harming intersex athletes and all women and girls in Idaho.

Summary: GLMA mourns the recent passing of two former GLMA staff and shares our condolences with their loved ones. Former GLMA Director of Policy and Programs Patricia “Pat” Dunn passed away in November. Former Lesbian Health Fund Director Grace Flannery passed away in October.

Summary: On November 19, Nicole Sandhu, MD, PhD, FACP, FAMWA, president of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), and Scott Nass, MD, MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS, president of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, issued a joint statement recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Summary: On November 9, the Biden-Harris transition team made its first announcement, naming a panel of public health experts to provide evidence-based advice on the coronavirus. In a statement, GLMA praised this signal that federal policy based on science will be a guiding principle of their governance. The statement outlines the work ahead for GLMA in the coming administration. Please click here for the full statement.

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.

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