Sen. Baldwin introduces bill to include LGBTQI+ community in federal data collection

Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 2:06 PM PDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has reintroduced the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act, a bill that will would require federal surveys to include questions about sexual orientation, gender identity and variations in sex characteristics.

“We are looking at surveys to collect data about, say, economic well-being or health, etc., we ask questions about race, we ask questions about gender, we should also ask about sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Sen. Baldwin.

The bill would direct more the more than 100 federal agencies that collect survey data to standardize the inclusion of the questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Senator Baldwin says policymakers need to better understand the health disparities that are happening in the LGBTQI plus community and believes the legislation could help.

She said she understood the importance of asking the questions back when she worked in the House, and took part in hearings on health disparities that may exist.

“We would talk about health disparities impacting African-Americans or Hispanic individuals, women versus men, health disparities. And I would ask a question, so what can you tell me about health disparities faced by people in the LGBTQ community?” she said. “And there’d be like a blank stare and [they’d] say, we’ll have to get back to you because they didn’t ask the questions or have the data to be able to even talk about health disparities that may exist.”

The questions would be on a voluntary basis. She says that data could help policymakers do a better job of crafting legislation that could help address the issues that the community is facing.

“There are a number of data sources that suggest that LGBTQ youth have a much higher rate of suicide, suicidal thoughts and even in attempting suicide. But that data is incomplete, again, because we don’t always ask the question. And I think when a policymaker then sees that there’s an urgent need, perhaps, you know, it, perhaps we could do more to avert that,” said Sen. Baldwin.