The legislation would create a pilot program under which coroners and medical examiners are trained to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data as part of violent death investigations.
WASHINTON, DC — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, applauded the California State Assembly for passing the LGBTQ Violent Death Data Collection Pilot Program (AB 1094). The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), would equip coroners and medical examiners in six participating counties across California with the training necessary to identify and collect data on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) in cases of violent death, including homicide and suicide.
“This first-of-a-kind legislation would provide our nation’s most populous state with the data necessary to track the violent deaths among the LGBTQ community, allowing for the better deployment of resources and the development of more effective policy solutions to save young LGBTQ lives,” said Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “Thank you to Assemblymember Arambula for championing this historic bill, which we hope will lead California and states all across the country to adopt these much-needed practices long-term.”
“I deeply appreciate the overwhelming support that my Assembly colleagues gave today to AB 1094. Together with the large coalition of advocates, I hope this first-in-the-nation pilot program can be successfully replicated throughout the country,” said Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula. “This legislation may be centered on data, but its purpose encompasses compassion and empathy to better understand what is happening in our LGTBQ+ community — particularly among the youth — when it comes to violent deaths, including homicide and suicide. AB 1094 is an important and humane step in ultimately preventing these deaths.”
AB 1094 would create a three-year California Department of Public Health (CDPH) pilot program for the collection of SOGI data in violent death investigations by coroners and medical examiners in up to six other participating counties across the state. Participants would be trained in cultural competency and best practices on how to properly identify a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity before being required to do so — and the bill explicitly requires respect for confidentiality. All personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, and dates of birth, would be removed before being reported.
According to recent polling conducted by The Trevor Project and Morning Consult, more than four in five adults (84%) feel it is important to include sexual orientation and gender identity when evaluating suicide and other violent death statistics, including 91% of Democrats, 80% of independents and 77% of Republicans.
Nationwide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10–24, and according to CDC data, LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their straight/cisgender peers. The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Despite these disparities, it is unknown how many LGBTQ youth actually die by suicide (or homicide) each year because SOGI data is not collected nationwide as part of violent death investigations.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.