Equality California on State Auditor's Report Regarding California Department of Public Health LGBTQ+ Data Collection
Only 17 out of 129 CDPH forms reviewed were found to have collected complete data on sexual orientation and gender identity
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - April 28, 2023 - Equality California, the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to a report from the California State Auditor highlighting a staggering deficit in sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collected by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH):
"Despite the advancements we have made in creating a more just and equal society for LGBTQ+ Californians, by virtually every measure of success, our community remains at the bottom - including when it comes to health care outcomes.
Equality California proudly sponsored AB 959, authored by then-Assemblymember David Chiu, to require that government agencies collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity whenever additional demographic data is collected. Then, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we advanced SB 932, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, to mandate that the state collect voluntarily provided sexual orientation and gender identity data for all communicable diseases. We commend Senator Wiener for demanding this audit to determine the extent to which these laws are being implemented.
Disturbingly, the report from the California State Auditor reveals a stunning lack of progress to collect and report complete SOGI data. According to the audit, only 17 out of 129 total CDPH forms reviewed were found to have collected complete SOGI data. This severely limits the information we have on how the LGBTQ+ community is impacted by public health crises, and prevents us from understanding their urgent health needs.
While we have come a long way from the days when our community was ravaged by HIV and AIDS, we see time and time again the need for this information. We witnessed this during the COVID-19 pandemic and just last year during the MPOX outbreak. There is still nowhere near enough being done to collect accurate and complete information to ensure that our policies to reduce health disparities are driven by data.
We join California State Auditor Grant Parks in calling on the Legislature to amend existing SOGI health data collection laws to require CDPH to collect this vital data from third-party entities, including local health jurisdictions, as well as asking CDPH to provide guidance for how its forms should collect SOGI data and implement procedures to review such collection. The health of all Californians, especially those who are most vulnerable, must remain a top priority."
AB 959 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2015, with the primary goal to better understand the extent to which LGBTQ+ people are experiencing disparities in health and well-being and whether government programs are reaching LGBTQ+ people in need of care and assistance. SB 932 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2020, inspired by concerns about potential disparate impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ people. Per the Auditor's report, 105 of the 129 current forms that are maintained by CDPH and its third-party vendors are exempt or do not collect complete SOGI data, 17 collect complete SOGI data, and 7 collect only partial SOGI data. The full report, including key findings and recommendations, can be found here.
Equality California is the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating, and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org