On Tuesday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a comprehensive healthcare bill, which included an amendment from Representative Dylan Fernandes to expand the scope of medical studies to encompass gender identity and the sexual identification spectrum.
Fernandes’s amendment calls for transgender individuals and all individuals along the sexual identity spectrum to be included in this major piece of legislation and supported within the healthcare system. The amendment ensures that health disparity and outcome data will be tracked for members of the transgender community. Fernandes’s amendment comes on the heels of the Federal Government stopping data collection on the LGBTQ+ community.
“You need comprehensive data to ensure the best healthcare outcomes for our LGBTQ+ community and close the gap between health disparity,” said Rep. Fernandes. “As the federal government takes a step backward in tracking LGBTQ+ data, Massachusetts takes a step forward by ensuring everyone is included in our healthcare bill.”
The amendment was hailed by LGBTQ+ advocates. "We applaud Representative Fernandes for his amendment in the healthcare reform bill. Data collection is a critical first step in addressing health disparities and targeting services appropriately. This amendment goes a long way to ensure that the health care concerns of our transgender community, and all LGBTQ+ individuals are recognized and addressed at the highest levels of government in Massachusetts. It is especially critical at a time when the federal government has stopped collecting data about the LGBTQ+ community" says Deborah Shields, JD, MPH Executive Director of MassEquality
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is made up of many diverse communities that have different pressing healthcare needs and concerns. This diversity demands a matching healthcare system that seeks to provide the best quality care for every community and individual.
“LGBTQ people in Massachusetts has a tremendous ally in Dylan Fernandes,” said Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “At a time when non-discrimination protections for transgender people will be on the ballot this November, it’s vital that we have a new generation of leaders who are committed to justice and fairness for all.” Cyr is the sole LGBTQ member of the Massachusetts State Senate.
“Everyone regardless of income, zipcode, ethnicity, race, or gender identity has a right to safe, accessible healthcare,” said Representative Fernandes.