HHS strips lesbian, bisexual health content from women’s health website

Womenshealth.gov photo.

Multiple LGBT+ health resources were removed from a HHS website, a new report finds.

A webpage devoted to lesbian and bisexual health, links to LGBT+ topics and other references were removed between September and October 2017 from WomensHealth.gov, a website maintained by HHS’ Office on Women’s Health.

HHS said the pages and links, some of which were first posted in 2012, were taken down as part of a routine update. "The outdated lesbian and bisexual health pages were removed and the health content was integrated into the relevant health topics pages across the website,” an HHS spokesperson said.

Sunlight Foundation researchers say the fact sheet was quietly moved to a different location in the website's archives and "placed on an island.” No links currently direct to it.

The office’s Twitter account, @womenshealth, which has nearly one million followers, also has not mentioned LGBT+ health issues since a post on Nov. 11, 2016.

WomensHealth.gov is among the health department’s more-trafficked websites. The website received about 700,000 visits over the past month, ahead of sites like Medicaid.gov and FoodSafety.gov.

The website is managed by Hager Sharp, a communications firm, which has been under contract since 2012. But HHS, not the outside communications firm, determines the content. Hager Sharp referred questions to HHS.

The women’s health office also saw a personnel shake-up late last year. Suzanne Haynes, who had been a senior science adviser at HHS and the former president of the Lesbian Health Fund, oversaw the office’s LGBT+ health research. Haynes, who retired from HHS in December, declined comment.

The Gayly. March 22, 2018. 9:42 a.m. CST.