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.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month posted on Oct 15
In 1994, after four years of intense investigation and testimony, Congress concluded that there was a pervasive problem of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking among women in the United States. As a result,the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed. This legislation was the …Continue Reading October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month posted on Oct 6
This month, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz announced an infant safe sleep campaign focused on the importance of infant safe sleep practices and promoting ways to reduce risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), the leading cause of death among infants between …Continue Reading October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children posted on Sep 25
Join Heidi Reed, Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), DHILS providers, the Disability Policy Consortium, and the Disability Law Center at a listening session in communities across the Commonwealth to share experiences with state services for deaf, hard of hearing, and late-deafened adults …Continue Reading Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children