Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today commended Gov. Tom Wolf’s move to include gender identity, sexual orientation and expression in electronic health records used by health care providers to report COVID-19 data.

Praising the governor’s efforts in recognizing that the LGBTQ community has been among the most critically affected groups for the novel coronavirus as progressive, Kenyatta said, “The COVID-19 health crisis has magnified and intensified the many ongoing disparities among our nation’s minority groups, especially as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity. In our fight to combat these inequities, we must be deliberate in our approach and I applaud Governor Wolf for doing just that by mandating that health care records for testing account for LGBTQ patients receiving quality care.”

The freshman legislator, who serves on the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission and is also the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, raised that more must be done to elevate the visibility of LGBTQ residents to better assess and mitigate their plights through ongoing data collections. He pointed to a bill he recently introduced that would require all state forms which collect demographic information to contain a voluntary LGBTQ identifier question for respondents to answer.

“The LGBTQ community is a historically marginalized group, a group that has endured horrific governmental negligence, years of being barred from access to health care, economic disenfranchisement, and the denial of civil rights,” Kenyatta said. “But my bill would help in rectifying these transgressions by collecting this data self-reported on state forms to gauge how truly accessible opportunities such as employment, health and mental health care, economic mobility, and other state social services are to LGBTQ residents. My bill would be able to target any deficiencies and guide lawmakers in introducing comprehensive legislation to save lives and improve the quality of life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.”