For Immediate Release
CHICAGO-- The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released a report describing the health status of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Chicago residents. The report provides an in depth look at lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals across three life stages – youth (9th-12th grades), young adults (18-44 years) and older adults (45+ years), as well as data on transgender adults. The report also provides the first-ever population estimate and demographic profile for all LGBT adults. There are approximately 146,000 adults in Chicago who identify as LGBT, representing about 7.5 percent of Chicago’s adult population.
“We know that the only way to ensure a greater quality of life and access to services for LGBT individuals is to better understand the size of, and opportunities and challenges specific to Chicago’s LGBT community,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “This report is a first step, giving providers, elected officials and community leaders a deeper understanding of Chicago’s LGBT population so we can in turn help better strengthen the community.”
This report builds on the goals of Healthy Chicago 2.0, the city’s comprehensive plan to improve health equity for all residents. The plan provides concrete actions to help ensure every resident, especially those from historically marginalized communities, not only have access to the services and resources they need, but also live in an environment that is healthy and affirming.
“This report helps us ensure that we’re identifying and reaching the most vulnerable in our LGBT community; so we can all grow and thrive,” said David Ernesto Munar, CEO of Howard Brown Health, one of Chicago’s largest LGBT focused organizations. “This report is another way Chicago can be proud of our efforts toward building a more inclusive and affirming city for LGBT people.”
“Just knowing the total number of members of the LGBT community is an amazing fact in its own right,” said Hon. Tom Tunney, 44th ward Alderman and Chair of the Aldermanic LGBT Caucus. “This report goes so much deeper, providing data we can use to better address the needs of our community.”
In addition to the population estimate, the data includes the following:
· Lesbian and bisexual females are more likely to be current smokers than heterosexual females at all life stages.
· Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are less likely to have had a wellness visit in the past year.
· Male and female youth who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are more likely to report being physically forced to have sex.
· Gay men are more likely to meet colorectal cancer screening guidelines and to have had an HIV test.
Today's report is the latest in a series of steps taken under Mayor Emanuel to increase inclusion and protections of LGBT individuals in the City of Chicago. In 2016, the City’s Human Rights Ordinance was updated to offer public accommodation protections to all equally. In April 2016, in response to a new North Carolina law that prohibits local governments from passing laws to protect members of the LGBT community, Mayor Emanuel directed City department heads to cease any City-funded or other travel by an employee representing the City of Chicago to the State of North Carolina. Departments shall not authorize any employee travel that is not absolutely necessary for the enforcement of Chicago law, meets prior contractual obligations, or is for the protection of public health, welfare and safety.
In addition, several city departments work directly with city employees and residents to help ensure Chicago’s LGBT community continues to thrive. The Chicago Park District provides LGBT awareness training for all recreation staff who interact with park participants, helping ensure every resident is welcome at city facilities. The Chicago Public School curriculum is inclusive of LGBT and queer identities and provides training for staff to institute safe spaces, help LGBTQ students feel valued and teach other students to welcome diversity. The Chicago Commission on Human Relations works to enforce anti-discrimination laws across the city and ensures individuals are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.