For Immediate Release:  June 5, 2018
Contact: Rita D. Lewis, Communications Director , 202-256-7154 

Councilmembers Robert C. White, Jr and David Grosso Introduce the LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018
Councilmembers Robert C. White, Jr. (D-At-Large) and David Grosso (I-At Large) collaborated to introduce the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018 . This bill requires the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the Department of Health (DOH) to utilize annual health surveys to understand the health barriers impacting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Community, so the government can more effectively target resources where they are needed. 

This legislation builds on the earlier work of Councilmember Grosso to begin collecting health and behavioral health information, but that work must be reinforced now that the Trump administration has proposed removing data related to LGBTQ residents from federal surveys. Collecting this data will inform the health care needs in our community and will require the Department of Health to collect demographic data on sexual orientation and gender identity through its annual  Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey . This law also would require OSSE to collect information on the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of respondents to the school-based Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System .

In addition, this bill will require annual monitoring and public reporting on health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among LGBTQ adults and youth in our community. This action will also improve accuracy in data collection for the LGBTQ community and is one of the key policies recommended by the Human Rights Campaign for eliminating LGBTQ health disparities.

“We celebrate Capital Pride in June, but we must go beyond words and parades to affirm and support our LGBTQ friends and neighbors,” declared Councilmember White. “We need to push back on these proposals by the Trump administration that would negatively impact the health of LGBTQ residents by pretending they don’t exist.”

Councilmember David Grosso agreed, stating, “At a time when the federal government is retreating from its responsibility to protect everyone’s human rights, DC must do everything it can to protect those rights. We have a responsibility to meet the unique health needs of our LGBTQ residents. Requiring our agencies to collect this critical public health data will better inform our policymaking and improve the health outcomes of all District residents.”