This week, the District Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs released the “LGB Health 2010 Report,” an examination of everything from smoking habits to sexual behavior in the gay community. This is the District’s first report to address the health of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in the District. But as the report’s title makes clear, the transgender community has yet again been excluded from the official conversation on health. Also underrepresented here: African-American men and women under the LGB umbrella.

But first, the findings: The report surveyed 6,218 District residents—-90 percent identifying as heterosexual, 4.5 percent identifying as gay or lesbian, and 2.3 percent identifying as bisexual or “other”—-from 2005 to 2007.
According to the report, gay, lesbian, and bisexual District residents are more likely to rate their health as “good” or better; more likely to smoke; more likely to binge drink; more likely to be “neither overweight or obese”; more likely to “report one or more days of bad mental health”; more likely to “engage in risky behavior for contracting HIV”; more likely to exercise; more likely to take HIV tests; and more likely to be white.
Here’s the stats on that final detail: In the survey, “9.0% of white respondents, 2.0% of African-American respondents and 5.3% of Hispanic respondents identified as gay or lesbian.” The DC Center addresses the limitations of the report:
The methodology of the [study] itself raises questions about the reliability of the data and how it represents the true health of the LGB community, as reflected by the limited number of responses from African American LGBT people. The survey’s findings rely on an identity-based rather than a behavioral questionnaire, which may exclude men who have sex with other men (MSM) but do not identify as gay.
The report also fails to differentiate between data for gays and lesbian respondents. According to the report, “8.3% of male respondents self identified as gay,” while only “2.0% of female respondents self identified as lesbian.” It is unlikely, for example, that lesbians are engaging in “risky behavior for contracting HIV” at the rates that gay men are—-so what’s the benefit in lumping the demographics together?

And, as always: “the absence of information on transgender health underscores the pressing need for better data on the transgender community in the District,” the DC Center writes.