The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention abruptly canceled a LGBT youth health summit after Donald Trump won the presidency, a source tells Talking Points Memo.
Planning documents provided to TPM refer to a one-day gathering in Atlanta to address the health and well-being of young LGBT people. The forum was initially announced internally in September, and weekly planning sessions had been held through Election Day.
“This was supposed to be a big deal,” a source who requested anonymity told the site. “They had a whole communications team on it, it was going to be on Facebook live. The intention was to plan a five-year agenda.”
CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell later told TPM the decision was made to cancel before the election, but sources say planning had continued in the days following Trump’s victory. “The whole reason that I went to work in the CDC was because I wanted to devote my career to impacting health outcomes for sexual and gender minority youth,” said the insider.
The first national report on the health of gay, lesbian and bisexual youth was released in August. It indicated LGB youth were subjected to significantly higher levels of depression, drug use, dating violence and bullying. A whopping 40% of them had contemplated suicide.
“I found the numbers heartbreaking,” the CDC’s Dr. Jonathan Mermin said at the time of the report’s release. “Nations are judged by the health and well-being of their children [and] many would find these levels of physical and sexual violence unacceptable and something we should act on quickly.”
But TPM’s source claims the summit was intentionally not publicized to avoid drawing unwanted attention from conservatives. Still event planners, expected a Clinton victory, had already started scouting partner organizations.
“From the very beginning when we were talking about partner decisions it was made very clear that no discussions were to leave CDC and that the invitations would be sent out to the big national nonprofits the day after the election.”
The seminar was initially planned for mid-December, but in October it was pushed back to January 12. Preparations continued through the Friday after Election Day, but the next week’s planning session was cancelled abruptly “and replaced with a ’next steps’ conference call,” according to TCM, where the conference was postponed indefinitely.
An email to staff on November 18 confirmed the summit was canceled.