Ten years ago this week, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Today we are joined by 17 states plus DC in acknowledging and codifying the right to marriage equality under the law. It was a historic moment for the Commonwealth and a groundbreaking achievement for our nation in the advancement of equal rights for gay, lesbian and bisexual people everywhere. Since then, thousands of same-sex marriages have been performed in communities across Massachusetts.
Between May 17, 2004 and December 31, 2013, there were 25,739 same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, the march towards full equality for the LGBTQ community continues – and that includes equal access to high-quality health care. At DPH we are renewing our commitment to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for all LGBTQ residents of Massachusetts.
In 2013, the DPH Office of Health Equity expanded its Making Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Happen guide to include advice for health care providers on the appropriate and respectful delivery of services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning community.
Our efforts to reduce health disparities among LGBTQ people are also about looking for ways to ensure that we have the most accurate, complete, and robust data on the health and wellness of this population, and the attitudes that LGBTQ patients have about the care they’re receiving.
While DPH has long gathered data on sexual orientation through various surveillance programs, that data has been collected in different ways and through different formats. While each of these data sets is valuable in its own right, that lack of standardization has made comparisons across data sets difficult.
The Department is currently underway in an exciting new project to catalog and standardize all of our LGBTQ data collection – including the specific language of how survey questions are formulated. Our intent is that by providing clear guidance to researchers and providers on standardized language for LGBTQ health surveys, we can increase the overall LGBTQ response rate – leading to an even larger data set on which to base future programs, services and interventions.
A Summer of Friendship and Growth posted on Aug 22
Shannon Curtin’s second summer in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Urban Youth Collaborative Internship Program (UYCP) was spent, among other things, leading a dance party for two at Resources for Human Development, Boston, Inc. Curtin who grew close with one particular individual, said she …Continue Reading A Summer of Friendship and Growth
Coffee and a Familiar Face posted on Aug 11
Braintree’s Rick Swan, who is legally blind, runs a small coffee shop in the lobby of One Ashburton Place in Boston – home to many state agencies including EOHHS. Swan started running the shop with his wife, who is also legally blind, approximately four years …Continue Reading Coffee and a Familiar Face
A New Hope for Women with Addictions posted on Aug 8
The second phase of the Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program (WRAP) in Taunton opened in July, 2016 officially closing the chapter on the day when women with substance use disorders are sent to prison for treatment. State officials who recently toured the new unit including Governor …Continue Reading A New Hope for Women with Addictions