GLMA to send letter to Bush condemning censorship of gay health research
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association on Wednesday announced that it will send a letter to President Bush, Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson, and the heads of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protest widespread reports of censorship and monitoring of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health research by government funding agencies. Recent reports in The New York Times and several medical and scientific journals, including Science, have indicated that some conservative lawmakers and other right-wing groups have been screening grant applications for words like "gay men," "men who have sex with men," "transgender," and "homosexual" in order to protest funding of the research. Officials at the NIH, HHS, and CDC have even reportedly warned researchers to avoid using those words in grant proposals as much as possible to avoid undue scrutiny of their work.
GLMA has created an online letter that can be signed by health providers, researchers, and teachers before being forwarded to Bush, Thompson, and the other officials. The letter says: "I join with my colleagues in urging the Bush administration to take steps to immediately address the reports in The New York Times and other major media outlets that research focused on LGBT communities is being targeted for special review. After two decades of tremendous strides and successes, the chilling effect of these moves could be devastating and threatens the very process of Peer Review, which has been the cornerstone of American biomedical science for decades."
"We urge everyone in health care to sign on to this letter," said GLMA president Kenneth Haller, MD. "Over the coming days we hope to gather over 1,000 signatures to deliver to the Administration. We cannot allow the integrity of health research and the health of LGBT persons to become victims of political ideology."
The letter can be accessed through the GLMA Web site at www.glma.org and on the GayHealth.com Web site, which is partnering with GLMA to collect signatures on the letter, at www.gayhealth.com.