Following the one year mark of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took the lives of 49 people -- mostly young, LGBTQ and Latinx -- Members of Congress put forth a bill to help combat the high rate of violence experienced by the LGBTQ community.
Today, openly gay New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Provide a Requirement to Improve Data Collection Efforts (PRIDE) Act, which calls on the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) to improve the process of data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity of victims who face violent deaths, including bias-motivated violence and suicide. The CDC operates the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), which collects a wide range of data on victims of violent crimes. The LGBT PRIDE Act would authorize $25 million to fund those efforts.
Improved data collection is urgently needed as LGBTQ people -- not just in Orlando, but across the country -- face a plethora of issues including racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia that leaves them disproportionately more vulnerable to violence.
Reports continue to mount of black trans women being shot, stabbed and killed in violent altercations. So far, a dozen transgender women of color were murdered this year. In 2016, advocates tracked 22 deaths of transgender homicides, the highest rate ever recorded.
"The LGBTQ community, particularly transgender women of color, continue to face an epidemic of violence," said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "In order to help understand the full scope of this violence, it is critically important we ensure victims' sexual orientation and gender identity are included as part of the information gathered in the National Violent Death Reporting System.”
“Pulse wasn’t an isolated occurrence -- anti-LGBTQ violence is way too common -- it happens when a trans woman of color is gunned down in the street, it happens when a young gay person is bullied into depression or takes his own life,” Rep. Maloney said during the introduction of the bill. “We have to get more information on where this violence is happening and we have to be more aggressive about doing something to stop it – and this bill is a necessary first step.”
We are thankful for Rep. Maloney's leadership and to other Members of Congress for sponsoring this critically important legislation to improve essential data collection.