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An article published Sunday in the New York Times highlights a recent report issued by the Southern Education Foundation which showed how some Georgia tax dollars are being filtered into private school scholarships, some of which goes to religious schools that ban gay and lesbian students, according to the article.
The tax credit program, created in 2008 and managed by the Georgia Student Scholarship Organization, allows Georgia tax payers to “donate” a portion of their annual state income tax for use at private schools to provide scholarships to students in kindergarten through high school. Those "donations" are matched dollar-for-dollar with a tax credit on state income tax. $50,000,000 can be donated each year.
Some of that money, according to the Southern Education Foundation, ends up at religiously based private schools which expressly prohibit gay and lesbian students from attending and in some cases could see students suspended or even expelled if they vocalize support for LGBT causes.
More data is needed to understand the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and one way to gather that necessary information is to have federally funded surveys ask this information on forms, such as they do for race and gender, and collected in electronic health records, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine.
The groundbreaking report, considered "historic" by some, is another step in the federal recognition of LGBT people as a population who has its own specific health needs.
"It's easy to assume that because we are all humans, gender, race, or other characteristics of study participants shouldn't matter in health research, but they certainly do," said IOM committee chair Robert Graham in a statement released today. Graham is professor of family medicine and public health sciences and Robert and Myfanwy Smith Chair, department of family medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati.
"It was only when researchers made deliberate efforts to engage women and racial and ethnic minorities in studies that we discovered differences in how some diseases occur in and affect specific populations,” Graham added. “Routine collection of information on race and ethnicity has expanded our understanding of conditions that are more prevalent among various groups or that affect them differently. We should strive for the same attention to and engagement of sexual and gender minorities in health research."