LGBTQ health data collection would be a first with SB 932

Scott Wiener SB 932

California Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) speaks during a committee hearing on May 13 about SB 932, which would require healthcare providers and county health agencies to voluntarily collect sexual orientation and gender identity data from people for on all reportable diseases. Photo: Screengrab.

UPDATE: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 932. It will go into effect immediately.

California could become the first state in the nation that requires LGBTQ health data collection.

SB 932 would require healthcare providers to collect and report voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity data for all reportable diseases, including COVID-19, is on its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom — who publicly has said that he supports the bill — has until September 30 to sign or veto it.

If Newsom signs SB 932, it will go into effect immediately, and California will become the first state in the union requiring voluntary collection of sexual orientation and gender identity health data.

“We’ve come a long way since the 1980s and 1990s, during which LGBTQ people were ignored and marginalized while facing the HIV/AIDS crisis,” Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author said in a statement. “But we have a long way to go before the LGBTQ community is fully supported and cared for by our health infrastructure. SB 932 would be a groundbreaking law to help get us there.”

The California Assembly on Sunday passed SB 932 in a 93 to 0 vote. The bill also passed the State Senate that night in a 39 to 0 concurrence vote. The voting took place Sunday because Monday is the last day of the legislative session.

Initially, SB 932 would have only required sexual orientation and gender identity health data collection related to COVID-19, but Wiener added amendments to the bill that expanded it to include all reportable diseases. The bill is sponsored by Equality California.

The concurrence vote was procedural to approve Wiener’s amendments.

Mayor Robert Garcia failed LGBTQ community on COVID-19

Wiener authored SB 932 in early May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. California had been collecting data on race, age, and sex during COVID-19 testing, but not sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite pleas from health and the LGBTQ advocates, Newsom refused to sign an executive order requiring the data collection.

In July, he finally relented. The California Department of Health and Human Services announced emergency regulations that required healthcare providers and local health departments to immediately collect and report voluntary data on the gender identity and sexual orientation of patients to understand how the LGBTQ community is impacted by COVID-19.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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