Several LGBT witnesses testified on Wednesday in support of a pending bill called the LGBTQ Health Data Collection Amendment Act of 2018 at a public hearing before the D.C. Council’s Committee on Education.
The bill was introduced in June by Council members David Grosso (I-At-Large) and Robert White (D-At-Large) and has been co-sponsored by each of the 11 other Council members.
It calls for requiring the city’s Department of Health to publish annually “a comprehensive report on the health of the District’s LGBTQ community on its website” using data collected from a national health survey prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and carried out by all 50 states and D.C.
The legislation would also require the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education to include “questions related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of respondents” in another Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey carried out by states and D.C. called the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey.
The latter survey, which can be modified by states and D.C., “monitors six categories of health-related behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults,” according to the CDC. One of the six categories is listed by the CDC as “sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection.”
Among the witnesses testifying in support of the bill were Ron Swanda, an LGBT seniors advocate; Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, a national LGBT suicide prevention group; Brent Huggins, chair of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community’s Health Working Group; and Jose Pichardo, an intern at the DC LGBT Center.
Bobbi Elaine Strang, president of the D.C. Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, submitted written testimony supporting the bill.