SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill Tuesday requiring the state to collect data on how the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic affects the LGBTQ community.
Currently, the state collects coronavirus case, death and hospitalization data by race and ethnicity, age and gender but not by sexuality. Wiener’s bill, Senate Bill 932, would require the state to begin collecting virus data on the LGBTQ community to understand how the virus affects it.
Wiener suggested that LGBTQ people could be suffering more from the virus because the community has higher rates of cancer, HIV and AIDS, respiratory issues due to smoking, homelessness and youth homelessness.
The data collection, Wiener said, would also demonstrate the state government’s support for the LGBTQ community, which has been routinely neglected by state and local governments, most notably during the HIV and AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
“We know that COVID-19 is harming the LGBTQ community, but because no data is being collected, we’re hamstrung in making the case to devote attention and resources,” Wiener said. “The history of the LGBTQ community is a history of fighting against invisibility. Without data, we quickly become an invisible community and risk being erased.”
Equality California is sponsoring the bill, according to Wiener’s office.
Wiener did not give an estimated date of when the state Legislature could begin discussing the bill. The Legislature reconvened Monday for the first time since mid-March after the pandemic upended the legislative session.
In the coming weeks, state lawmakers will also be required to juggle the pandemic response and the state budget, which must be approved by June 15.