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Maloney Introduces LGBTQ Essential Data Act to Combat Deadly Violence Against LGBTQ Community

BY: Josh Weaver

The bill, which strengthens the National Violent Death Reporting System, is introduced on third anniversary of Pulse Nightclub shooting.

WASHINGTON — In observance of the third anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 Americans, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the LGBTQ Essential Data Act, which will strengthen the Center for Disease Control’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) by improving data collection regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in violent deaths.

“Victims of violence targeted at the LGBTQ community are often invisible to the rest of the world just because of who they are or who they love. We need quality data showing where, how, why, and to whom this violence is happening to get in action and save LGBTQ lives,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Various barriers exist to the collection of data on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the National Violent Death Reporting System faces a backlog of data in several states. At the time of the Pulse Nightclub shooting Florida did not utilize the NVDRS, meaning the lives lost in the Orlando attack were not recorded as anti-LGBT murders in any data collection.

The LGBTQ Essential Data Act is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, PFLAG National, and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

  • “In an era where the Trump-Pence administration is attempting to erase LGBTQ people from government websites and data collection, legislation like the LGBTQ Essential Data Act is all the more crucial. LGBTQ people, particularly transgender women of color, are too often victims of violence and even death. The LGBTQ Essential Data Act will give lawmakers and law enforcement the necessary tools to work toward justice and develop comprehensive legislative solutions to fight this epidemic. We thank Rep. Maloney for his leadership and for helping us create a safer LGBTQ community,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy.
  • “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System is a critical tool in the mission of ending LGBTQ youth suicide across the country. Unfortunately, The Trevor Project research has found that despite good intention and the optional collection of sexual orientation and gender identity, many states simply don’t know how best to collect this vital information. The LGBTQ Essential Data Act will provide direction and funding to improve the process of capturing sexual orientation and gender identity at the time of death, thereby providing life-saving data to prevent future violent deaths. Who we are must not be erased when we die,” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.
  • “Given the ever-increasing number of transgender women of color brutally murdered each year—and the added incidence of harmful risk for LGBTQ+ people—the CDC collecting data and funding the program appropriately will save lives. Thanks to the brave and mindful leadership of Rep. Maloney introducing this bill, we can hold hope that our LGBTQ+ loved-ones’ lives won’t be erased, and PFLAGers across the country will work passionately and diligently to move this bill forward to passage,” said Diego M. Sanchez, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Partnerships for PFLAG National, the first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies.
  • “GLSEN is proud to support the LGBTQ Essential Data Act again this Congress. Data collection is imperative to ensuring that policies are implemented effectively and that programs are funded adequately to have an impact on the communities they are meant to serve; however, too often LGBTQ people are left out of critical data collection measures and subsequently left behind. Improving the CDC’s data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, and providing the funds necessary to get that done, is a hugely important step,” said Brenda Baron, Director of Public Policy at GLSEN.

The LGBTQ Essential Data Act would authorize $25 million to fully fund the NVDRS, operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While all 50 states now collect this data, 10 states face a 2-year backlog and have not yet released data on LGBT violence. The NVDRS aggregates data from a variety of local sources including death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, police reports, and crime labs, which is then used to inform policy and regulatory decisions aimed at responding to public health crises such as suicide and homicide at the local, federal, and state level.

The LGBTQ Essential Data Act was first introduced by Rep. Maloney in 2016, a month after the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney is the first openly gay member of Congress from New York. After 22 years together, he married his husband Randy Florke in June 2014 in Cold Spring, NY where they live with their three children. He is a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

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