(EDGE) Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) led 96 Members of Congress in introducing bicameral legislation requiring federal surveys to include data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity.
While some federal data on LGBT communities is currently collected, there is no centralized requirement prioritizing the collection of LGBT data in federal surveys which the LGBT Data Inclusion Act addresses.
The reintroduction of this bill is timely given recent actions taken by the Trump Administration to undermine LGBT data collection, including the elimination of questions on sexual orientation and gender identity from consideration for the American Community Survey and the 2020 Census, and the removal of LGBT questions from an aging survey at the Department of Health and Human Services which was only partially reversed after public outcry, and continues to exclude questions on gender identity.
"Despite the growing number of Americans who recognize that their LGBT family members, friends and neighbors deserve to be treated like everyone else in the United States, LGBT Americans still face discrimination in many facets of everyday life such as employment, housing and even in the justice system," said Senator Baldwin. "The LGBT Data Inclusion Act will help ensure that policy makers and community leaders have the information they need to help better understand the full extent of such discrimination and better serve the communities they represent. This bicameral legislation will be a step forward in the march for fairness, freedom and full equality."
"The LGBT Data Inclusion Act will ensure that a marginalized population, the LGBT community, is taken into account for the everyday policy decisions our nation's lawmakers take," said Rep. Grijalva. "The current lack of sound data about sexual orientation and gender identity in many federal surveys means we are ill-prepared to meet the needs of this community. We must develop a credible and confidential understanding of these vulnerable populations we currently know too little about. As it stands, lawmakers are blindfolded when it comes to allocating funds to address the LGBT community's employment, housing, and health disparities. There is a common sense solution to this issue and it allows all of us to better understand our constituents. As the LGBT community is specifically targeted by the Trump administration and the like in State houses all across the country, we need robust data so that lawmakers are able to make informed policy decisions about people living and working in their districts. Now more than ever, the LGBT community needs to know who has their back. This bill is a step towards achieving full equality."
In March of this year, Senator Baldwin and Congressman Grijlava joined forces with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) in leading 86 Members of Congress in sending a bicameral letter to the U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney, expressing strong disapproval of the Census Bureau's decision to remove data collection on LGBT individuals for consideration for the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS).
In the Senate, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), have cosponsored the legislation.
The full text of the LGBT Data Inclusion Act is available here.