After Orlando Tragedy, Maloney Introduces LGBT PRIDE Act to Combat Violence, Suicide in LGBT Community
Washington – A month after the horrific murder of 49 Americans at an LGBT night club in Orlando, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the LGBT Providing a Requirement to Improve Data Collection Efforts (PRIDE) Act, which would enhance the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) by calling for improvements to its data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as providing full funding authorization to bring the system to all 50 states. Various barriers exist to the collection of data on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the NVDRS does not operate in Florida, meaning the lives lost in the Orlando attack will not be recorded as anti-LGBT murders in any data collection.
“After last month’s terrorist attack targeting our LGBT community, I was shocked to learn that the lives lost in Orlando will not be counted as anti-LGBT murders because our country’s data collection on violence against LGBT Americans and LGBT suicides is offensively inadequate,” said Maloney, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. “LGBT people matter, we count, and my new bill will ensure that states like Florida have the tools to collect data in a comprehensive way, and to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to understand where, how, and why violence against the LGBT community and LGBT suicides are happening – this bill could save lives.”
“LGBTQ people experience significant health disparities resulting from societal stigma, discrimination and victimization. Having complete and accurate data is essential to address these issues,” said David Stacy, Government Affairs Director for the Human Rights Campaign. “We commend Rep. Maloney for his leadership to improve the reporting of sexual orientation and gender identity to the National Violet Death Reporting System which will improve the development of effective interventions and prevention efforts to help save lives.”
“We thank Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for taking the first step to ensure the U.S. conducts comprehensive research regarding suicide in the LGBTQ community,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project. “We know that LGBTQ youth are at high risk of suicide attempts, but we don’t know if that also equates to a high percentage of suicide deaths. As the saying goes ‘if you’re not counted, you don’t count’, and we must begin to ascertain the sexual orientation and gender identity of every suicide death that occurs so we can better target resources and interventions to save lives.”
The LGBT PRIDE Act would authorize $25 million to fully fund the expansion of the NVDRS, operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to all fifty states. It currently does not operate in California, Texas, or Florida, which collectively account for nearly a third of the U.S. population. The system aggregates data from a variety of local sources including death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, police reports, and crime labs. This data is 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 bill also encourages the CDC to devise strategies to improve the incidence of data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity. The system currently has the ability to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity, but various barriers exist to comprehensive collection. All data collection is performed on a voluntary basis, and the results are only released in aggregate to protect the privacy of decedents.
This bill has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, PFLAG, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Fellow LGBT Equality Caucus co-chairs Mark Pocan, Mark Takano, and David Cicilline are also original cosponsors.
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.