Rep. Carolyn Maloney Calls for Data Collection to Help Save LGBT Lives
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, member of the LGBT Equality Caucus and original co-sponsor of the Providing a Requirement to Improve Data Collection Efforts (PRIDE) Act, released the following statement today after joining members of the Equality Caucus at a press conference to announce the reintroduction of the bill and call for passage.
“We are woefully lacking critical data about violence against, and suicides within, the LGBT community that we need to help understand and prevent these tragedies,” said Rep. Maloney. “The PRIDE Act will help ensure we get that data by improving the CDC’s data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity and giving it the resources it needs to carry out this critical task. Better data leads to better policy and I am hopeful that with more information our prevention efforts will be more successful and we can save LGBT lives.”
The PRIDE Act directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) through the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) and authorizes $25 million to achieve that goal. The data gleaned from the NVDRS is used to inform policy and action plans against suicide and violence.
The NVDRS is a national system for recording data on violent (suicide and homicide) deaths. State level NVDRS offices aggregate data from local authorities such as medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement, toxicology, and vital statistics records and enter them into the national system. Forty-two jurisdictions (40 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico), have opted to participate and receive federal investments to fund the program at the state level, with ten of those jurisdictions adopted just last year. There are variables for SOGI status, but the data collected is spotty and not uniform because the NVDRS relies on localities to collect the information. The only states that we know have collected this data in a uniform and proactive way are Nevada and Colorado, where there were pilot programs last year in Las Vegas and Denver. The PRIDE Act provides CDC the flexibility to enhance their efforts and will necessitate collaboration with state and local authorities who collect or aggregate this data.