California To Track Violent Deaths Of LGBTQ + People Nationwide First | California
California will become the first state in the United States to track violent deaths of LGBTQ + people, a move that advocacy groups hail as a “huge victory” and an essential tool in understanding disproportionate rates of violence against the LGBTQ + community.
Governor Gavin Newsom, who just won the recent recall election, signed a law Project which will establish a three-year pilot program in as many as six counties to collect information on gender identity and sexual orientation in violent death cases, which include suicides and homicides.
Advocates said this type of data collection is essential to understanding and addressing the increased risk of violence faced by LGBTQ + people. This year is set to be the deadliest for transgender and non-conforming Americans with at least 36 people killed, the majority of whom were black and Latin transgender women. LGBTQ + people nearly four times more likely than non-LGBTQ + people to be victims of violent crimes, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or common assault, report finds UCLA Study.
âWe know that LGBTQ people are more often victims of violent crime. Within the LGBTQ community, due to lack of acceptance, discrimination and harassment, we are seeing higher rates of suicidal ideation, âsaid Samuel Garrett-Pate, director of communications for Equality California, a rights group that supported the bill. âWe only know how to best deal with these important issues when we have the data. “
The bill will require counties to be trained to identify and collect clinical data related to sexual orientation and gender identity. That county’s coroner or medical examiner will submit annual reports on the data to the State Department of Public Health and the County Oversight Board for three years.
“By training coroners and forensic pathologists to collect mortality data with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity, researchers and policy makers can begin to understand who are the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ community.” and allocate resources that will reduce the number of preventable deaths, âthe bill reads.
The counties of Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Stanislaus and Fresno have agreed to participate in the program, the The San Francisco Chronicle reported, which will include a mix of rural, suburban and urban counties in the north, south and center of the state.
The bill’s author, assembly member and former emergency doctor Joaquin Arambula, told the newspaper that he created the bill because he saw first-hand the disproportionate violence among LGBTQ + patients.
âWorking on the front line I have had a lot of these experiences,â he said. “I was there and felt like there was a dire need to better understand violent deaths.”
Equality California, which backed the bill with Project Trevor, called the legislation a victory.
“This will help us better understand the issues the community faces both in terms of hate crimes but also suicide and then prioritize resources,” said Garrett-Pate. âHaving this information about the impact of these issues on the LGBTQ community is critically important to our response. “