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    SF Supervisors Pass LGBT Data Collection Ordinance


    The lack of data on the health and well-being of LGBT individuals has been an impediment to providing effective and needed services to our community.  The lack of comprehensive information about the health and well-being of LGBT people, has been a barrier to  addressing and preventing LGBT health disparities. But that is all about to change for the better.

    On July 26, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the LGBT Data Collection Ordinance that requires five city departments–and contractors providing health and social services–to collect demographic data on sexual orientation and gender identity. The city departments are: the Department of Public Health; the Department of Aging and Adult Services; the Department of Human Services; the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families; and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

    A client’s participation in responding to the questions is entirely voluntary. The city and LGBT-serving non-profits will now be able to quantify and track the needs of San Francisco’s LGBT population.

    This legislation was first proposed by the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force in 2014. The Department of Aging and Adult Services championed the proposed initiative. Supervisor Scott Wiener authored the legislation.

    “For years we have heard stories about how programs and facilities could better serve our community, but so much evidence has been anecdotal,” said Supervisor Wiener. “This legislation will allow us to collect real data that can be analyzed to show us where our city departments and non-profits are succeeding, and where they need improvement in meeting the diverse and significant needs of the LGBT community.”

    The five agencies covered by the legislation are required to start collecting LGBT data by July 2017 and then will have two years to achieve compliance. The departments are required to analyze data, identify services and programs in which LGBT are underrepresented, and to develop plans to effectively increase accessibility to those services.

    The legislation also includes that much researched guidelines be adopted by the city’s departments when asking sexual orientation and gender questions, and when analyzing data. These are the “Sex and Gender Guidelines: Principles for Collecting, Coding and Reporting Identity Data,” which were developed by the Department of Public Health and the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health at the University of California San Francisco.

    The collection of comprehensive LGBT data is a huge step forward in making visible the lives of LGBT people. The information will enhance the capacity of the city, LGBT service providers and LGBT communities to identify and address current needs, to more effectively target resources, and to strategically prepare for the future.

    Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice, is co-founder of the non-profit organization Openhouse and was a leading member of the San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Task Force.

    LGBT Resources
    for Seniors

    • Openhouse: 415-296-8995
    • Family Caregiver
      Alliance: 415-434-3388
    • Institute on Aging: 415-750-4111,
    • National Resource
      Center on LGBT Aging
    • Project Open Hand
      San Francisco: Nutrition
      Services, 415-447-2300
    • SAGE: 212-741-2247
    • Shanti Project, Inc: HIV Services and Life Threatening Illnesses, 415-674-4700

    Alzheimer’s Association Programs and Services:

    • 24/7 Helpline: 1-800-272-3900,; Online Community:
    • Memory Clinic, Kaiser
      Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center: 408-530-6900,