States won’t collect LGBTQ data on COVID-19 – and gays are not happy

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States won’t collect on data on whether COVID-19 patients are LGBTQ. (Image courtesy of the CDC)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and otherwise queer people are not getting the special treatment they feel they deserve during the coronavirus pandemic, and gay advocates are angry about it, reports the Washington Blade.

As the crisis unfolds and creates a strange “new normal,” state health officials responsible for gathering data on the disease are declining to collect and report whether or not patients identify as LGBTQ — a practice that LGBTQ advocates say could yield crucial information to help fight infection.

In 2017, the Gallup organization Americans who are LGBT at roughly 4.5 percent, based on respondents’ self-identification as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Advocates say this will obscure the coronavirus’ impact on LGBTQ people — a group that may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The epidemic continues to spread and health officials warn that an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 Americans may die as a result of it, U.S. government health advisers said this week.

The deputy director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, who goes by the name Scout, said the lack of data on the coronavirus’ impact on LGBTQ people reflects the overall absence of LGBTQ data collection in medical surveys.

“The common phenomenon of not collecting LGBTQ health surveillance data hurts us in so many ways. Now it will hurt us by masking the impact of COVID-19 on our communities,” Scout said. “Considering an estimated 3.3 million of us use tobacco products, and therefore have a higher risk of negative outcomes if we get coronavirus, not collecting LGBTQ+ status in health surveillance data is horrible. We will mourn our losses but never be able to measure them.”

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