The New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Garden State Equality, hosted an LGBTQ+ Summit to coincide with the League of Municipalities Conference. In this history-making event, the LGBT+ community, businesses, and constituents will be represented at the League for the first time in 107-years, according to event organizers.
This groundbreaking event brought together many of the state’s top LGBT voices, state policymakers, allies, and Corporate Supplier Diversity leaders, who are each respected executives in their respective fields of advocacy, business, education, and sports.
Speakers included GSE Executive Director Christian Fuscarino, Miss Elaine (Scott McMasters) Miss’d America 2023 winner, and Stephen Blazejewski, president of the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce.
One session covered guidance on the collection of Sexual Orinetation and Gender Identity data led by Aaron Potenza who chairs the New Jersey’s Transgender Equality Task Force. SOGI data is vital becasue it enables providers to deliver better quality, patient-centric care with the goal of better outcomes. SOGI data also allows healthcare facilities to assess barriers and disparities that exist in access to services.
Why does SOGI data matter? So put that question to Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, executive director of Hyacinth, NJ’s largest AIDS service provider.
“Because otherwise we are invisible,” Ms Ahearn-O’Brien told InsiderNJ. “Nobody knows how many gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual people exist. So if I go to a doctor and i wanna know if they are good at working with lesbians for instance it would help to know that hey have served x-amount of lesbians in their practice. Without it we’re invisible.If you think about it, when we talk about hate crimes for instance, if the police departments are not tracking the SOGI data, how do they know whether or not a hate crime has occurred? They’d have no idea what the history is. So when you can track something, when you track data, you have the numbers behind you and then you can pay attention to it and you can fix the problem. Without the date you might not even know a problem exists.”