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May 27th, 2016
Grijalva Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Include Voluntary Data Collection for LGBT Individuals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today introduced bipartisan legislation requiring federal surveys to include data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity. While some federal data on the LGBT community is currently collected, there is no centralized requirement in law ensuring that federal data collection on the LGBT community be a priority. TheLGBT Data Inclusion Act would allow members of the LGBT community to confidentially provide survey data that will ultimately inform policymakers responsible for the public’s wellbeing.

“Public officials draft and implement policies impacting the lives of everyone living in the United States – it is vital that they have robust information about the diverse communities within our populace, including the LGBT community,” Rep. Grijalva said. “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 these communities. To go uncounted is to be unseen in the eyes of policymakers, which is why we must develop a credible and confidential understanding of these vulnerable populations we currently know too little about.

“I commend the administration for convening an inter-agency working group to discuss best practices for federal LGBT data collection,” Grijalva continued. “This bill builds on the inter-agency working group’s success by making data collection within this community law. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join me in ending those knowledge gaps by passing theLGBT Data Inclusion Act.”

The LGBT Data Inclusion Act is endorsed by the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and 19 prominent civil rights groups, including Center for American Progress, Williams Institute, Human Rights Campaign, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Center for Transgender Equality, True Colors Fund, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLSEN, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, National Black Justice Coalition, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women’s Law Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Anti-Defamation League, The Trevor Project, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, New York City Anti-Violence Project, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“Despite historic advancements in equality, the picture of who LGBT people are and what we need to live healthy and secure lives remains vastly incomplete,” Dr. Laura E. Durso, Senior Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress said. “The LGBT Data Inclusion Act of 2016 represents a new wave of LGBT equality legislation, a push for not just legal equality, but also true lived equality. In a nation as large and diverse as the United States, understanding the varied needs and experiences of the American public remains necessary to crafting policy solutions that leave no one behind.  LGBT people remain disproportionately likely to live in poverty, experience homelessness, and be unemployed, and while there may not be a silver bullet to solving these problems, in order to find answers, we must begin asking questions.”

“This legislation will help ensure that policymakers have the fullest information about LGBT people possible and can make decisions based on data and evidence rather than myths and assumptions,” Adam Romero, Senior Counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law said. “By adding measures of sexual orientation and gender identity to federal surveys, we will gain crucial information about the LGBT population and all its diversity.”

The LGBT Data Inclusion Act has 68 original cosponsors: Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Richard Hanna R-NY), Mike Quigley (D-IL), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Alan Grayson (D-FL), José E. Serrano (D-NY), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), William R. Keating (D-MA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Scott Peters (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Grace Meng (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-PA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Adam Smith (D-WA), Brian Higgins (D-NY),Judy Chu (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), John Yarmouth (D-KY), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mike Honda (D-CA), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-GA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Betty McCollum (D-MN).

Grijalva is a prominent voice in the effort to expand equal access to opportunities for the LGBT community as a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and Transgender Equality Task Force. In April of this year, he joined forces with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to urge for similar data collection on the LGBT community to be included in the American Community Survey (ACS).

The full text of the LGBT Data Inclusion Act is available here.


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