If we are not counted, we do not count.

March 28, 2019

By Rory O’Brien & Poshi Walker


Photo Credit: Gender Spectrum Collection.


Picture this. A trans man is sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and the receptionist calls for him – not by his name – but by saying “the gynecologist is ready for you.”

Imagine a provider giving their lesbian patient information about contraception while saying: “in case you ever get in a ‘real’ relationship.”

And consider, a queer teenager seeking mental health care is welcomed, is referred to with the right pronouns, and leaves their appointment feeling seen.

Last year, we had the amazing opportunity to travel across California and talk to LGBTQ people about what’s good and what’s missing when it comes to their mental health and well-being. From their stories – including the ones above – we learned more of what LGBTQ Californians go through when seeking care. We published what we learned in our report, Mapping the Road to Equity: the Annual State of LGBTQ Communities, 2018, and have brought these stories to bear in the decision-making of policy makers at both the state and county levels.

We still have so much to learn, though. Health research and surveys often do not ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, so we do not have the information we want and need to effectively advocate for improving the lives of LGBTQ Californians.

This is why we released the #Out4MentalHealth Community Survey. The survey – which already has more than 1000 responses by LGBTQ Californians – includes questions about the need for mental health services, accessibility of health care, and experiences of discrimination.

We are thrilled and hopeful that we can use this survey to talk about the health and well-being of LGBTQ Californians. This survey will allow us to talk about the needs and experiences specifically of queer and trans people of color, Deaf LGBTQ people, bisexual/pansexual/sexually fluid people, and trans and nonbinary people. We are also asking questions that few have ever asked, like how long does it take for LGBTQ individuals to get a mental or physical healthcare appointment, or how far people have to travel for gender transition services.

You have an opportunity to guide our statewide advocacy for improving the lives of LGBTQ Californians. It only takes 10-20 minutes and adults can enter the raffle to win one of several gift cards worth up to $50!

Take the #Out4MentalHealth Community Survey today!