New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney Introduces Bill To Track LGBT Homicides – The PRIDE Act

House Rep Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) To Push Again On LGBT Anti-Discrimination Measure

 

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (above) is the hardest working Congressmen pushing for LGBT rights in Washington today.

One of only seven openly gay members of Congress on Thursday, he responded to the tragic Orlando massacre of 49 LGBT clubgoers by introducing a bill that would mandate federal reporting on the deaths of LGBT Americans for the first time.

The PRIDE Act (Providing a Requirement to Improve Data Collection Efforts) would fill a glaring gap in law enforcement data collection. Currently, a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are not systematically reported at the time of their death.

According to a March 2015 study in the journal LGBT Health, race, marital status, age, occupation, and military service are recorded when a person dies—just not whether they were gay or transgender, for example.

“After last month’s terrorist attack targeting our LGBT community,” said Maloney in a statement on Thursday, “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.”

That kind of gap in data causes massive problems for researchers and LGBT advocacy groups—who struggle to calculate suicide or violent homicides in the community—down the line.

“After last month’s terrorist attack targeting our LGBT community,” said Maloney in a statement on Thursday, “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.”

If Maloney and others were shocked to learn that the Orlando victims would not be categorized as queer or trans in federal death data, it came as no surprise to New York’s Anti-Violence Project (AVP). 

“We get asked all the time how many violent deaths of LGBTQ people have happened in the course of a year, but the truth is we don’t know, because there is no standardized system collecting this information,” said Emily Waters, of the AVP.

Basically, there’s never been a way to officially and accurately track any data about LGBT people on the national level.

The PRIDE Act would authorize $25 million towards expanding the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) to all 50 states and mandating that sexual orientation and gender identity be included in the system. Currently, three of the largest states in the nation—Florida, Texas, and California—do not report death data to the federal system at all, much less track LGBT deaths. That means about a third of the U.S. population is missing from federal death statistics.

“LGBT people matter, we count,” said Maloney in the statement. “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.”

Source: The Daily Dot

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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