WASHINGTON – Today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Katie Porter (CA-45) and Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) sent a letter to the Biden administration urging the National Institute of Health, U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Health and Human Services to implement the findings from a recent report published by the National Academies on Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) on measuring sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and variations in sex characteristics. As it stands, federally administered data collection tools are failing to capture all individuals with LGBTQI+ identities and experiences.
With the number of people identifying as LGBTQI+ rising more rapidly than ever, collecting accurate, high-quality, and reliable data on members of LGBTQI+ communities will ensure that lawmakers and federal agencies have the comprehensive data they need to address LGBTQ issues and to deliver effective programs, services, and policies. This is especially important as LGBTQI+ communities across the country, including in Arizona, continue to face discrimination through both anti-LGBT legislation and barriers to health care and public services.
In the letter, the Members urged for the Biden administration to adopt the NASEM report’s recommendations and called for further action:
“The NASEM report’s recommendations include collecting data on sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status on critical surveys such as the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey, as well as on administrative forms and in health settings. Implementing these recommendations would equip Congress with more accurate and reliable data to make informed policy decisions. By expanding response options for sexual orientation, disentangling sex from gender through two-step question designs, and encouraging data collection on intersex populations, the recommendations in the NASEM report provide nuanced, sensitive data collection tools that will better inform our legislative efforts. We urge your agencies to devote resources to continue testing and updating the NASEM report’s recommended measures, which will be critical to ensuring that they keep pace with our evolving understanding of identities and experiences within LGBTQI+ communities.”
This letter builds on previous efforts made by Rep. Grijalva and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) who reintroduced the LGBTQ Data Inclusion Act that would require federal surveys to include data collection on a voluntary basis. It also aligns with President Biden’s announcement of major policy reforms that will benefit transgender and non-binary people in the United States.
Cosignatories of the letter include Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Troy Carter, Jake Auchincloss, Scott Peters, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Rashida Tlaib, Barbara Lee, David N. Cicilline, Ayanna Pressley, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Dina Titus. Paul D. Tonko, Dwight Evans, Stephen F. Lynch, Andy Levin, Sean Casten, Ruben Gallego, Julia Brownley, Ritchie Torres, Peter Welch, Mark Pocan, James R. Langevin, Pramila Jayapal, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Jamie Raskin, Sara Jacobs, Angie Craig, Sharice L. Davids, Ed Case, Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Mondaire Jones, Kaialiʻi Kahele, Frederica S. Wilson, Steven Horsford, Nikema Williams, Linda T. Sánchez, Grace Napolitano, Juan Vargas, Brian Higgins, John Yarmuth, Ro Khanna, Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Peter DeFazio, John B. Larson, Ted Deutch, Katherine M. Clark, Robin L. Kelly, Chris Pappas, Grace Meng, Suzanne K. DelBene, Mike Quigley and Derek Kilmer.
The full letter can be found here.