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Top Democrat
supports National LGBT Health Awareness Week

Top Democrat
supports National LGBT Health Awareness Week

Howard Dean backs goals of National LGBT Health Awareness Week.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has issued a statement in support of National LGBT Health Awareness Week, held through March 18. Dean, a physician and the former governor of Vermont, called the week "a valuable reminder of the importance of focusing on the unique health challenges confronting America's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities."

"America also needs public policies that seek to fully incorporate LGBT families into the fabric of our society," Dean said in the statement. "Many of the unique health challenges facing members of the LGBT community are directly related to the pressure of living in the closet or the pain of confronting persistent prejudice on a daily basis. As governor of Vermont, I signed the nation's first civil unions bill, in part because I understand that we cannot fully address these problems until LGBT families can live with the dignity and recognition they deserve, and until they have access to the same health benefits as every other family in America."

Dean also said that a key component in improving the health of gays and lesbians is breaking down the stigma of homosexuality that prevents many gay people from accessing health care services. "That is why I believe the theme of this year's LGBT Health Awareness Week, 'Own Your Health, Get Checked Out,' is so powerful," Dean said in the statement. "As a doctor, I understand the importance of early detection and treatment, the need for the government to respect patients' privacy, and the dangers of avoiding treatment or hiding information from caregivers because of fear, discrimination, or bias. No American should be denied health care by prejudice." (The Advocate)

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