Post submitted by Brian McBride, former HRC Digital Strategist 

Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the LGBT Data Inclusion Act, a bill that would greatly expand and improve data collection and analysis of LGBTQ people. The bicameral legislation is co-sponsored by 94 Members of Congress. HRC, the LGBT Equality Caucus and dozens of other civil rights organizations have also endorsed the bill.

Inclusive data collection policies are vital in order to understand and improve the health and well being of LGBTQ Americans. While some federal data on LGBTQ communities is currently collected, there is no centralized requirement prioritizing the collection of LGBTQ data in federal surveys which this bill would address.

The reintroduction of the bill comes at a volatile time for the LGBTQ community as the Trump administration attempts to exclude LGBTQ people from federal data collection.

After the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Community Living proposed removing a question relating to sexual orientation from the 2017 National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, thousands of HRC community members expressed outrage over the proposal and helped reinstate the question. The administration also eliminated a plan to collect data regarding sexual orientation and gender identity from the American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau. These moves were seen by advocates as Trump’s attempt to erase LGBTQ people from federal surveys and disrupt programs that provided direct assistance to some of our nation’s most vulnerable groups.

“The LGBT community is specifically targeted by the Trump administration and the like in State houses all across the country,” said Rep. Grijalva. “We need robust data so that lawmakers are able to make informed policy decisions about people living and working in their districts. Now more than ever, the LGBT community needs to know who has their back. This bill is a step towards achieving full equality.”

Sen. Baldwin -- the only openly-gay Senator serving in the U.S. Senate -- led 14 of her colleagues on the Senate version on the bill.

“Despite the growing number of Americans who recognize that their LGBT family members, friends and neighbors deserve to be treated like everyone else in the United States, LGBT Americans still face discrimination in many facets of everyday life such as employment, housing and even in the justice system,” said Baldwin.

If this bill becomes law, it would provide much needed resources for federal agencies to use the most effective data collection methods possible to help improve the lives of countless LGBTQ people. Read the full text of the bill here.

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